From 1990 until 2010, the Supreme Court decided no cases about personal jurisdiction, the legal doctrine controlling when a defendant can be made to litigate within a state. For perspective, Justice David Souter joined the court in fall 1990 and retired in summer 2009 without hearing one personal-jurisdiction case. Since 2010, however, personal jurisdiction has become a hot issue on the court’s docket. The latest case, Ford Motor Co. v. Montana Eighth Judicial District (consolidated with Ford Motor Co. v. Bandemer), considers whether state courts in Montana and Minnesota have personal jurisdiction over two lawsuits against Ford, which sells cars in both states but manufactured and sold the specific cars at issue out-of-state. The court rescheduled this case from last term and will hold telephonic argument on Wednesday.
Ford Motor Co. is headquartered in Michigan and incorporated in Delaware. It designs and manufactures automobiles, which it sells to