Asahi Metal Industry Co. v. Superior Court

480 U.S. 102 (1987)

Facts

A husband, Zurcher, and wife got into a motorcycle accident. W was killed and H was seriously injured. H claimed that the accident was the result of the rear wheel losing air and exploding. H sued in Solano County, where the accident occurred. H named Cheng Shin in Taiwan as one of the defendants because they manufactured the tire tube. Asahi (D) was a Japanese corporation who manufactured tire valve assemblies in Japan. D sold some of them to Cheng Shin, in Taiwan. Cheng Shin put the valves into motorcycles. Cheng Shin sought indemnity from D in the Zurcher suit. They filed a cross-claim against the other defendants and against Asahi (D). Zurcher eventually settled out of court with Cheng Shin and all the other defendants. This left the cross-claim as the only remaining issue to be decided. D moved to quash the service of summons, claiming that California could not exercise jurisdiction over them. D's sales to Cheng Shin took place in Taiwan, and shipments went from Japan to Taiwan. D did no business in California and did not directly import any products to California. However, Asahi was not the only supplier of the tire valves. D only received 1.24% of its income from Cheng Shin and only about 20% of Cheng Shin's sales in the United States were in California. Information indicated that (it) used from 100,000 to 500,000 of D’s valve assemblies each year and sold the finished tires all over the world. There were no exact numbers on how many of those units made it to the U.S. In the bike shop in Solano County, only about 20% of the tires had D's trademark. D contends that it never contemplated suit in California from its sales of products to a Taiwan company. Cheng Shin testified that that D was told and knew that its products were being sold in California. The Superior court deemed it fair to allow Asahi to defend in California. The court of appeals issued a writ to quash the service of summons. The state supreme court reversed and discharged that writ, finding that P could have known that some valves would end up in California. It held that D intentionally put its products into the stream of commerce and that alone was enough for California to exercise jurisdiction. P appealed.