Calder v. Jones

465 U.S. 783 (1984)


Shirley Jones (P) brought suit in California Superior Court claiming that she had been libeled in an article written and edited by petitioners in Florida. P and her husband brought this suit against the National Enquirer, Inc., its local distributing company, and petitioners (D) for libel, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional harm. The article was published in a national magazine with a large circulation in California. Ds were served with process by mail in Florida and caused special appearances to be entered on their behalf, moving to quash the service of process for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Enquirer is a Florida corporation with its principal place of business in Florida. It publishes a national weekly newspaper with a total circulation of over 5 million. About 600,000 of those copies, almost twice the level of the next highest State, are sold in California. Ps' claims were based on an article that appeared in the Enquirer's October 9, 1979, issue. Both the Enquirer and the distributing company answered the complaint and made no objection to the jurisdiction of the California court. The Superior Court granted the motion on the ground that First Amendment concerns weighed against an assertion of jurisdiction otherwise proper under the Due Process Clause. The California Court of Appeal reversed, rejecting the suggestion that First Amendment considerations enter into the jurisdictional analysis. South (P) is a reporter employed by the Enquirer. He is a resident of Florida, though he frequently travels to California on business. South (D) wrote the first draft of the challenged article, and his byline appeared on it. He did most of his research in Florida, relying on phone calls to sources in California for the information contained in the article. Shortly before publication, South (D) called P's home and read to her husband a draft of the article so as to elicit his comments upon it. Aside from his frequent trips and phone calls, South (D) has no other relevant contacts with California. Calder (D) is also a Florida resident. He has been to California only twice - once, on a pleasure trip, prior to the publication of the article and once after to testify in an unrelated trial. Calder (D) is president and editor of the Enquirer. He 'oversees just about every function of the Enquirer.' He reviewed and approved the initial evaluation of the subject of the article and edited it in its final form. He also declined to print a retraction requested by respondent. Calder (D) has no other relevant contacts with California. The Superior Court felt that special solicitude was necessary because of the potential 'chilling effect' on reporters and editors which would result from requiring them to appear in remote jurisdictions to answer for the content of articles upon which they worked. The court also noted that P's rights could be 'fully satisfied' in her suit against the publisher without requiring petitioners to appear as parties. Ds' motion was granted. The California Court of Appeal reversed. The court concluded that a valid basis for jurisdiction existed on the theory that petitioners intended to, and did, cause tortious injury to P in California. The fact that the actions causing the effects in California were performed outside the State did not prevent the State from asserting jurisdiction over a cause of action arising out of those effects. The court rejected the Superior Court's conclusion that First Amendment considerations must be weighed in the scale against jurisdiction.