Bristol-Myers Squibb Company v. Superior Court Of California

137 S.Ct. 1773 (2017)


D is incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in New York, and it maintains substantial operations in both New York and New Jersey. D engages in business activities in other jurisdictions, including California. Five of the company’s research and laboratory facilities, which employ a total of around 160 employees, are located there. D also employs about 250 sales representatives in California and maintains a small state-government advocacy office in Sacramento. D manufactures and sells Plavix. D did not develop Plavix in California, did not create a marketing strategy for Plavix in California, and did not manufacture, label, package, or work on the regulatory approval of the product in California. These activities occurred in New York or New Jersey. D does sell Plavix in California. Between 2006 and 2012, it sold almost 187 million Plavix pills in the State and took in more than $900 million from those sales. This amounts to a little over one percent of the company’s nationwide sales revenue. Ps are 86 California residents and 592 residents from 33 other States. Ps filed complaints in California Superior Court, alleging that Plavix had damaged their health. Ps assert 13 claims under California law, including products liability, negligent misrepresentation, and misleading advertising claims. The nonresident plaintiffs did not allege that they obtained Plavix through California physicians or from any other California source; nor did they claim that they were injured by Plavix or were treated for their injuries in California. D moved to quash service of summons on the nonresidents’ claims, but the California Superior Court denied this motion, finding that the California courts had general jurisdiction over D “because it engages in extensive activities in California.” D appealed. After the decision on general jurisdiction in Daimler AG v. Bauman, the California Supreme Court instructed the Court of Appeal “to vacate its order denying mandate and to issue an order to show cause why the relief sought in the petition should not be granted.” The Court of Appeal then held, general jurisdiction was clearly lacking, but it went on to find that the California courts had specific jurisdiction over the nonresidents’ claims against D. The California Supreme Court affirmed. The majority applied a “sliding scale approach to specific jurisdiction.” “the more wide-ranging the defendant’s forum contacts, the more readily is shown a connection between the forum contacts and the claim.” the majority concluded that “D’s extensive contacts with California” permitted the exercise of specific jurisdiction “based on a less direct connection between D’s forum activities and plaintiffs’ claims than might otherwise be required.” This attenuated requirement was met because the claims of the nonresidents were similar in several ways to the claims of the California residents. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.