By: Charles B. Jimerson, Esq. and Robert O’Linn
To do business in modern America, one almost necessarily has to engage in interstate commerce. In a city like Jacksonville, with its proximity to the Florida-Georgia border, one can easily see how anything from the sale of an automobile, to the award of a subcontract, or the hiring of an employee, could involve potential litigants from different states. If a dispute arises out of such an interstate transaction and litigation is eminent, an important question is what is the appropriate forum to file the complaint?
Assuming the plaintiff is a Florida corporation, the question of whether the complaint can be filed in Florida court hinges on the State’s power to enforce a judgment against the defendant. A state’s power to adjudicate a claim and enforce the judgment is limited by the due process clauses of the United States Constitution and by precedent. The test to determine if a state court has the power to enforce judgment over an out of state defendant corporation asks whether the defendant has certain minimum contacts with the forum state so that the suit does not offend “traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” International Shoe Co. v. State of Wash., Office of Unemployment and Compensation, 326 U.S. 310,316 (1945).