Client Alert: United States Supreme Court Reins In Litigation Tourism and the Reach of Personal Jurisdiction

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California.  The decision limits the power of state courts to adjudicate claims by non-resident plaintiffs when the actions on which the claims are based occurred outside the forum state.  The Court held that non-resident plaintiffs who were not alleging any injuries stemming from conduct occurring in California could not maintain a suit in the state against a company neither headquartered nor incorporated there.  This is one of the most important decisions ever in the context of product liability and mass tort litigation, as it essentially puts an end to litigation tourism and forum shopping against corporate defendants by limiting the forum state’s reach of personal jurisdiction.