International Shoe Co. v. Washington

326 U.S. 310 (1945)

Facts

A Washington statute for unemployment required contribution by employers. The statute authorized the commissioner, Washington (P), to issue notices of assessment and of delinquent contributions by mailing notices to non-resident employers. International Shoe (D) was incorporated in Delaware, with its principal place of business in Missouri. D had no office in Washington, and no stock there, and none of its employees were allowed to make contacts there. However, D maintained several salespeople (11-13) during the years under dispute who worked and resided in Washington but were supervised from Missouri. The salesmen got samples from D and showed them to potential customers. They sometimes rented showrooms for this purpose. All orders were filled in Missouri and all goods were shipped directly to the customer. Salesmen were paid commissions and made an average of $31,000 per year. Notice of an assessment was served on one of D's salespersons in Washington and a copy of the notice was sent by registered mail to D's Missouri address. P sued D to recover funds that they felt were owed to the state unemployment compensation fund. D challenged the service contending that the salesman was not a proper agent for process of service. D also claimed that they were not present and doing business within Washington State so as to be subject to the state’s jurisdiction. They also contend that the authority of the salesmen is limited to exhibiting their samples and soliciting orders from prospective buyers, at prices and on terms fixed by D. No salesman has authority to enter into contracts or to make collections. All merchandise shipped into Washington is invoiced at the place of shipment from which collections are made. Everyone in the chain of jurisdiction held against D contending that service and jurisdiction were proper. D appealed to the Supreme Court claiming a violation of Due Process.