In a global economy, price and convenience are valued above all else. Global consumers demand produce out of season, buy sophisticated appliances made with cheap labor and build homes with materials shipped from abroad. And yet when these products prove to be defective, they expect to be able to sue the manufacturer at the local courthouse, regardless of where it resides. After all, the product reached them — so they should be able to sue in their home court, right?

We’ve come a long way from Penoyer v. Neff, 95 U.S. 714 (1878), when a defendant’s physical presence in the forum state was required to exercise jurisdiction over him. Various U.S. Supreme Court decisions have expanded the notion of personal jurisdiction, simultaneously muddying the water as to precisely what constitutional analysis is required.

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