The U.S. Chamber filed an amicus brief asking the Colorado Supreme Court to reverse a lower court decision that misreads the U.S. Supreme Court’s personal jurisdiction precedents, most importantly J. McIntyre Machinery v. Nicastro. The court below upheld a finding of specific personal jurisdiction over the defendant in Colorado despite a lack of any facts that the defendant specifically targeted the Colorado market. At most, the court vaguely referenced steps that the defendant may have taken to market its products in Colorado, only supporting this notion with the defendant’s marketing brochure aimed at the United States in general.
The brief explains that the lower court’s radical version of the “stream of commerce” theory does not pass muster under any reading of Nicastro, as—even though that case yielded a fractured opinion—a majority of Justices clearly held that (1) a defendant cannot be haled into court on the theory that it “knew or should have known” that its product would reach the forum and (2) it is at least relevant to the specific personal jurisdiction inquiry whether a defendant “has purposefully availed” itself of the forum. The brief also argued that the lower court’s holding to the contrary not only must be reversed due to its clash with higher court precedent, but also to protect small businesses in particular from the risk of unpredictable nationwide liability.
Daniel D. Domenico of Kittredge LLC and Michael Francisco of MRDLaw served as counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center.