Print Vol. 104, Issue 4

Note

Hertz So Good: Amazon, General Jurisdiction’s Principal Place of Business, and Contacts Plus as the Future of the Exceptional Case

D.E. Wagner, B.A., McGill University, 2013; J.D., Cornell Law School, 2019; Publishing Editor, Cornell Law Review, Vol. 104. My thanks to Professor Zachary D. Clopton, for his unwavering guidance in aid of both this Note and my development as an attorney; to Leonardo Mangat, for listening to me ramble endlessly about personal jurisdiction; and to the entire staff of the Cornell Law Review for their tireless work. All errors are my own.

15 May 2019

This Note proceeds in six parts. Part I describes the genesis of general jurisdiction jurisprudence from Pennoyer v. Neff through Daimler. Part II briefly describes the curtailment of specific jurisdiction in Bristol-Myers Squibb and its effect on personal jurisdiction. In Part III, this Note details lower courts’ treatment of general jurisdiction following Daimler, finding that many courts are applying the nerve center test to the principal place of business inquiry for general jurisdiction and tracing the jurisprudential roots of the contacts plus test. Part IV argues that precedent and policy point in favor of a contacts test for principal place of business in general jurisdiction rather than the nerve center test, but that adoption of the nerve center test for principal place of business and the contacts plus test for the exceptional case would generally simplify the inquiry and would avoid policy concerns. Part V explores the development of the modern economy with Amazon as a case study and demonstrates how Amazon’s second headquarters creates an untenable problem for a general jurisdiction doctrine that limits each corporation to two home states. Part VI concludes by arguing that the simplest, most effective, and most precedent-deferential path forward is the contacts plus test.

To see the entire Note, click here: Hertz So Good: Amazon, General Jurisdiction’s Principal Place of Business, and Contacts Plus as the Future of the Exceptional Case.

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