Back to the Basics: Why Traditional Principles of Personal Jurisdiction Are Effective Today and Why Zippo Needs to Go

June 16, 2012

The exercise of personal jurisdiction is proper when someone has directed minimum contacts at a specific forum. Business conducted over the Internet complicates personal jurisdiction considerations because the boundaries of where one’s conduct reaches are not always clear. In Chloe v. Queen Bee of Beverly Hills, LLC, the Second Circuit held that business activities directed toward a forum coupled with Web site transactions made personal jurisdiction proper in the distant forum. Courts are divided in the approach to be used to judge whether the exercise of personal jurisdiction is proper; some say traditional principles of personal jurisdiction are proper, while others support the sliding scale test from Zippo Mfg. Co. v. Zippo DOT Com. The Second Circuit’s opinion is valuable for its clear reasoning, for its use of established principles in looking at the personal jurisdiction question and for providing a model that other courts can replicate in their jurisdictional analysis.