Kulko v. Superior Court
SCOTUS - 1978 (436 U.S. 84)
- Ezra and Sharon Kulko got divorced in NY. Both children remained with father in NY during the school years and with mother in CA during the summers.
- Daughter told father she wanted to move to CA to live with her mother. Father bought her a one-way ticket to CA and let her go.
- Later, son secretly left NY to go to CA to live with his mother.
- Mother sued father in CA seeking sole custody of children and increased child support.
- Father moved to dismiss because CA had no personal jurisdiction on him.
- State court ruled for mother.
- SCOTUS reversed, ruled for father, no jurisdiction.
- Does a party's knowledge that an action performed outside a forum state will have an impact on a forum state establish "purposeful availment"?
- Can a forum state claim personal jurisdiction when the cause of action arises not from the Ds commercial transactions but rather from his personal, domestic relations?
- A party's knowledge that an action performed outside a forum state will have an impact on a forum state does not establish "purposeful availment".
- A forum state cannot claim personal jurisdiction when the cause of action arises from personal, domestic relations and not from commercial transactions.
- Parents would be more reticent to enter into amiable visitation agreements if a party subjected himself to personal jurisdiction in whatever state the other party chose to live.
- The P did not gain any financial benefit from sending his daughter to CA. Any financial benefit gained was not because she moved to CA, but because she moved away from NY.
- P only acquiesced to his child's preference to live in CA, an act that one would not reasonably expect would lead to being haled into court in CA.
- The separation occurred in NY, contract seeking to modify was negotiated and signed in NY.
- The "effects test" says that a state has power to exercise personal jurisdiction over a party who causes effects in a state by an act done elsewhere with respect to any cause of action arising from these effects.
- This case was based more on policy considerations; the court didn't want to penalize parents making custody arrangements for their children.