“The Georgia Supreme Court’s outlying decision is inconsistent with a string of recent decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court.”
—John Masslon, WLF Senior Litigation Counsel
Click here for WLF’s brief.
WASHINGTON, DC— Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) today urged the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an important case in which the Georgia Supreme Court held that Georgia courts may exercise general jurisdiction over any foreign company that registers to do business in the State. WLF argues that the decision violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.
The case arises from a car accident in Florida. The driver of the car, a Florida resident, sued Cooper Tire, a Delaware Corporation headquartered in Ohio, alleging that a tire made in Arkansas was defective. Despite both the plaintiff’s and Cooper Tire’s lack of ties to Georgia, the plaintiff sued there. Relying on a century-old precedent, the Georgia Supreme Court upheld the exercise of personal jurisdiction simply because Cooper Tire registered to do business in the State.
In its brief supporting Cooper Tire’s petition, WLF examines the stare decisis factors and explains why the Court should reconsider its 1917 Pennsylvania Fire decision. That decision is unworkable in the ecommerce era, was poorly reasoned, and there are no reliance interests that warrant keeping the decision. Most importantly, however, Pennsylvania Fire cannot be reconciled with the Court’s more recent personal-jurisdiction decisions. Thus, the time has come for the Court to explicitly overrule Pennsylvania Fire.
Finally, WLF’s brief explains how the Georgia Supreme Court’s decision creates uncertainty for businesses. In recent years, all courts that have considered consent-by-registration statutes have held that they violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause. If left to stand, the decision below will cause companies to reconsider operating nationwide. As this will hurt our economy, the Supreme Court should hear this case and reverse the Georgia Supreme Court’s decision.