X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:While traveling through Louisiana on Dec. 10, 2000, Texas resident Jajah Eddington sought medical care at MHC-Minden Hospital, a 159-bed acute care hospital located in Minden, La. Medical personnel treated Eddington’s flu-like symptoms in the emergency room and advised her to consult her primary care physician if her condition did not improve. Four days later, Eddington was admitted to Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview, Texas, where she ultimately was diagnosed with toxic shock syndrome. That infection led to her death on Dec. 28, 2000. DeWayne Eddington, individually and as next friend of Devvyn Eddington, and as representative of Jajah Eddington’s estate, sued Kimberly-Clark Corp. asserting product liability, breach of warranty and negligence claims. He alleged that Eddington’s use of Kotex tampons led to the infection that caused her death. On Feb. 28, 2003, Kimberly-Clark filed a third-party petition against PHC-Minden LP, which owns Minden Hospital, asserting that Minden’s negligence proximately caused Eddington’s death. Minden is a nonresident of Texas and a wholly owned subsidiary of Province Health Care. Kimberly-Clark pleaded that Province, whose headquarters is in Tennessee, did business in Texas and that its forum-related acts should be imputed to Minden because: 1. Province owns Minden; 2. Province and Minden share officers, directors and common departments or business; 3. Province and Minden do not differentiate their operations and have failed to erect “formal barriers” between themselves; and 4. Province’s officers and directors control Minden’s policies. Minden filed a special appearance and, in the alternative, a general denial. The parties conducted extensive discovery relating to the jurisdictional issue. After a hearing, the trial court concluded it had general jurisdiction over Minden and denied the special appearance. The 12th Court of Appeals affirmed, reasoning that: 1. Minden itself had “continuous and systematic contacts with Texas”; and 2. Minden and Province operated as a single business enterprise, and Minden, through Province, did business in Texas. The Texas Supreme Court granted Minden’s petition for review to decide whether Texas courts have general jurisdiction over Minden. HOLDING:Reversed and rendered. Texas Civil Practices & Remedies Code ��17.041-.045, the Texas long-arm statute, governs Texas courts’ exercise of jurisdiction over nonresident defendants. That statute permits Texas courts to exercise jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant that “does business” in Texas, and the statute identifies some activities that constitute “doing business.” The list, however, is not exclusive. The court noted its holding that �17.042′s language extends Texas courts’ personal jurisdiction “as far as the federal constitutional requirements of due process will permit.” Personal jurisdiction over nonresident defendants is constitutional when: 1. the defendant has established minimum contacts with the forum state; and 2. the exercise of jurisdiction comports with traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. In the 1984 opinion Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia SA v. Hall, the U.S. Supreme Court adopted the terms “specific” and “general” to describe the differing types of personal jurisdiction. The U.S. Supreme Court referred to general jurisdiction as “personal jurisdiction over a defendant in a suit not arising out of or related to the defendant’s contacts with the forum.” Beyond stating that mere purchases and related travel are not enough, the court stated that the U.S. Supreme Court “has given little guidance on the appropriate inquiry for general jurisdiction, although its Helicopteros conclusion that general jurisdiction was improper [in that case] suggests that the requisite level of contacts is fairly substantial.” General jurisdiction, the court stated, is dispute-blind; accordingly, and in contrast to specific jurisdiction, the incident made the basis of the suit should not be the focus in assessing continuous and systematic contacts contacts on which jurisdiction over any claim may be based. Minden, the court stated, is a nonresident limited partnership that owns a hospital licensed by the state of Louisiana. Minden’s only facility is in Minden, La., and 90 percent of its patients reside within a 25 mile radius of Minden Hospital. Minden does not advertise in Texas. It owns no Texas property and has no Texas office or bank accounts, nor does it maintain a registered agent for service of process in Texas. The 12th Court, the court noted, relied on three categories of contacts in determining that Minden’s Texas contacts were continuous and systematic: 1. Minden employees’ attendance at seminars in Texas; 2. Minden’s purchases from vendors with Texas addresses; and 3. three contracts with Texas entities. Even when amassed, the court stated, Minden’s Texas contacts simply are not “continuous and systematic general business contacts” sufficient to support general jurisdiction, particularly when compared to the substantial, regular business activities conducted by the nonresident defendant in the 1952 U.S. Supreme Court opinion Perkins v. Benguet Consolidated Mining Co. The court also rejected the 12th Court’s second basis for general jurisdiction, in which the 12th Court imputed Province’s Texas contacts to Minden, concluding the two entities operated as a single business enterprise and that Minden, through Province, did business in Texas. Upon closer examination, the court stated, “it is clear that Province does not exercise the sort of control over Minden that is required to fuse them for jurisdictional purposes.” Thus, the court stated, Minden lacked continuous and systematic contacts with Texas, nor was there any basis for imputing Province’s Texas contacts to Minden. OPINION:Jefferson, C.J. delivered the opinion of the court.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.