“The burden on someone forced to defend a lawsuit in a far-flung forum is the same no matter who owns the courthouse.”
—Cory Andrews, WLF Vice President of Litigation

Click here for WLF’s brief.

WASHINGTON, DC—Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) today filed an amicus curiae brief asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to rehear en banc an important personal-jurisdiction case. Although the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2017 Bristol-Myers decision cut back on a court’s exercise of jurisdiction over out-of-state defendants, a Seventh Circuit panel held that Bristol-Myers does not apply in federal court.  

The appeal arises from a suit under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a federal law that prohibits sending unsolicited faxes. The named plaintiff alleges that IQVIA, a Delaware healthcare-data company headquartered in Pennsylvania, sent two unsolicited faxes to an Illinois medical office. Seeking to represent a nationwide class of everyone in the United States who received an unsolicited fax from IQVIA, the plaintiff demands thousands of dollars in statutory damages per fax.  

Because due process strictly limits a court’s jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant to only claims arising from the defendant’s contacts with the forum state, the Illinois district court dismissed all class claims unconnected to Illinois. The Seventh Circuit reversed, however, holding that Bristol-Myers does not apply to a federal court action arising under federal law.

As WLF’s brief shows, the panel’s deeply flawed analysis contravenes Supreme Court precedent and upends long-settled Seventh Circuit case law. Highlighting the flaws in the panel’s analysis, WLF contends that the panel’s opinion, if left to stand, would transform specific jurisdiction in a class action into “a loose and spurious form of general jurisdiction.”

Celebrating its 43rd year, WLF is America’s premier public-interest law firm and policy center advocating for free-market principles, limited government, individual liberty, and the rule of law.