The Supreme Court of Georgia has upheld the consent of out-of-state companies to sue by registering with the state – but will the US Supreme Court intervene? | Womble Bond Dickinson


This law did not violate due process, the court found, because the defendant voluntarily consented by executing the required power of attorney. 243 United States at 95-96. Pennsylvania fire has never been explicitly overturned, despite significant changes in the general landscape of personal jurisdiction since its decision in 1917. Based on this precedent, the Georgia Supreme Court concluded that consent by registration remains an allowable ground for assert general personal jurisdiction over a defendant.

And despite the fact that Georgia’s business registration process does not inform out-of-state companies that registering to transact in the state will subject them to general personal jurisdiction, the Supreme Court of Georgia said the companies are made aware of this fact based on its earlier decision in Klein. But the Georgia Supreme Court acknowledged that the U.S. Supreme Court’s view of general personal jurisdiction has since evolved. Klein was decided and that there was a “tension” between its decision and the recent jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of the United States in Good year and Daimler. Cooper tire312 Ga. to 422.

Part of the Georgia Supreme Court’s reluctance to strike down Georgia’s existing statutory scheme may be due to language in the Georgian code, which implicitly classifies corporations registered out of state as “residents.” OCGA § 9-10-90 defines a nonresident as “a corporation that is not organized or does not exist under the laws of this state and is not authorized to carry on or carry on business in that state at the time a claim or cause of action arises.” Only nonresidents are subject to the state’s long arm law, which provides specific jurisdiction. Therefore, as the Supreme Court of Georgia held in Klein and reiterated in Cooper tirea foreign company that East authorized to do business in Georgia is a “resident” for personal jurisdiction purposes, which subjects him or her to general personal jurisdiction, but not including specific personal jurisdiction under the Long Arm Act.

As the Supreme Court of Georgia described in Cooper tireif the court should cancel Kleinthis would lead to the absurd result that corporations registered out of state would not be subject to specific or general jurisdiction in Georgia: “This result would allow out-of-state corporations to insulate themselves from personal risk. jurisdiction in Georgia simply by obtaining the required certificate of authority and registering to do business here, thereby effectively protecting against suit for any cause whatsoever. Cooper tire312 Ga. to 436. Justice Bethel competed specially in the Cooper tire decision to draw lawmakers’ attention to this statutory matter, in which he noted that there was “a significant chance that Georgia’s current law will, at some point, be found to be inconsistent with the requirements of the procedural Federal,” which would open the door to a situation in which companies registered out of state would not be prosecuted in Georgia at all. 312 Ga. to 437.

One of the reasons the United States Supreme Court may be more likely to grant certiorari in Cooper tire is that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently reviewed the constitutionality of consent by recording with respect to Pennsylvania law (which contains similar, but not identical, language to Georgia) and came to the opposite conclusion – concluding that the Pennsylvania law violated due process and was therefore unconstitutional. Mallory v. Norfolk S.Ry. Co., 266 A.3d 542 (Pa. 2021). The decision in Mallory was also challenged in the United States Supreme Court. See Malloryno. 21-1168 (filed on February 18, 2022).

parties in both Cooper tire and Mallory have now completed their briefing on their respective motions for writs of certiorari, and each motion will be submitted to the judges for consideration. If four justices vote to grant the motion in either case, that case will be scheduled for the US Supreme Court to be heard this fall.


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