Ninth Circuit Upholds Long-Arm Jurisdiction From Obtaining Foreign Court Orders

A recent Ninth Circuit opinion considered whether long-arm jurisdiction can be triggered through a party’s bringing foreign court proceedings against an American citizen.

In Yahoo! Inc. v. La Ligue Contre Racisme et L’Antisemitisme, No. 01-17424 (9th Cir. Jan. 12, 2006), the popular Internet company Yahoo! brought an action in California federal court seeking a declaration that several orders entered against it in France were of no force and effect. The defendants had obtained orders from a French court finding that Yahoo! had permitted its users to use the site to sell Nazi memorabilia in violation of French law, and requiring Yahoo! to set up filters to prevent users in France from browsing the offending pages.

Eight of the eleven judges on the Ninth Circuit panel agreed that the district court had personal jurisdiction over the French defendants. Applying principles of long-arm jurisdiction, the majority concluded that the defendants “purposefully availed” themselves of the privilege of conducting activities in California and/or “purposefully directed” activities with a California party by bringing proceedings against that party in the French courts.

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