Pennoyer v. Neff
SCOTUS - 1878 (95 U.S. 714)
- In 1866, Mitchell, attorney from OR, sued Neff, resident of CA, in OR state court to recover unpaid legal fees.
- Mitchell published notice of the commencement of the action in an OR newspaper, pursuant to state statute about giving notice to out of state defendants. Neff was not personally served.
- When Neff failed to appear, Mitchell obtained a default judgment against him.
- Court attached a tract of land that Neff had purchased in OR. Land was sold to Pennoyer at auction and proceeds awarded to Mitchell.
- Nine years later, Neff sued Pennoyer in OR federal court to recover the land.
- Neff won in lower court (on basis of technical problems with 2 affidavits, not on jurisdictional issues)
- Neff won in SCOTUS
- Can a state court exercise personal jurisdiction over a non-resident who has not been personally served while within the state and whose property within the state was not attached before the onset of litigation?
- A court may enter a judgment against a non-resident only if the party…
- Is personally served with process while within the state, or
- Has property within the state, and that property is attached before litigation begins (as in quasi in rem jurisdiction)
- "Field theory" of state-court jurisdiction
- Every state possesses exclusive jurisdiction and sovereignty over persons and property within its territory
- No state can exercise direct jurisdiction and authority over persons or property outside its territory
- These principles follow because the states resemble independent nations
- Principles are rooted in the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment. Courts have to give other judgments "full faith and credit".
- "Full faith and credit" is not valid if the court did not have jurisdiction.
- None given.
- Courts have to give other judgments "full faith and credit".
- SCOTUS doesn't say anything bad about the notice.
- State has power over people who are there and the land in its boundaries.
- The claim doesn't have to have anything to do with the property in the jurisdiction
- In personam - suit against a person
- In rem - suit against property
- Quasi in rem - suit against someone out of state through property in the state
- Oregon has a real interest in making its courts available to its citizens
- Since the adoption of DP, the validity of judgments like this may be directly questioned and their enforcement in the state resisted on the ground that proceedings in a court of justice to determine the personal rights and obligations of parties over whom that court has no jurisdiction do not constitute due process of law.
- Special appearance means you can enter a jurisdiction in order to dispute jurisdiction issues in a case.
- Theology of Pennoyer
- States have power over their people
- States have power over their property
- All assertions of jurisdictional power must be justified consistent with One and Two
- Problem - Underinclusive, need a way to protect citizens
- How to mitigate
- Create quasi-in-rem jurisdiction to permit assertion of claims against non-residents by grabbing property
- Physical presence - if you can find them, grab them
- Consent can be either express and implied
- Status relationships like marriage