Long-Arm Statute

U.S. legal terminology for a state statute that provides that the state may exercise jurisdiction over out-of-state persons based on certain “minimum contacts” with that state.  In effect the statute will usually mean that if, under Federal Law, the state could in principle claim jurisdiction, it will do so.

The minimum contacts required for such a long arm statute to be applicable were first set forth in detail in a U.S. Supreme Court Case International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310 (1945) and widely known as International Shoe. It sets forth three bases for jurisdiction—which have been expanded on by later cases:

  1. the defendant has had purposeful continuous and systematic contact with the jurisdiction and the case arises out of those contacts;
  2. the defendant has had such a high level of continuous and systematic contact with the jurisdiction that even though the case did not arise out of those contacts, it is not unreasonable to bring suit there;
  3. although the defendant’s contacts are admittedly only sporadic or casual, the case arose out of one or more of those contacts. However, mere sporadic or casual contact with the jurisdiction, if the contact has nothing to do with the case, is usually insufficient to support jurisdiction.

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