General/Specific Jurisdiction Test


Depending on the relationship between the contacts and the claim brought against a party, the necessary contacts that the party must have for a state to assert personal jurisdiction may vary.  The defendant may be sued on any claim, if there is general jurisdiction over the defendant.  If the defendant is served with the process while physically in the state, or if s/he is domiciled in the state, a general jurisdiction exists.  However, in the case of corporations, general jurisdiction exists only if the defendant has its principal place of business in the state, or if the corporation is incorporated in the state, or if the corporation carries on a continuous and systematic part of its business in the state.

Specific jurisdiction exists when a state is alleged to have jurisdiction over a defendant because the defendant’s activities in that state gave rise to the claim.  In specific jurisdiction, the defendant’s contacts with the forum states are more limited.  However, the claim involved must arise out of those contacts.