Personal Jurisdiction Over Foreign Corporation Based on Advertisement Within the State
The mere fact that a foreign corporation advertises for business within the District Columbia is insufficient under the long-arm statute for the local court to exercise personal jurisdiction over that corporation for claims unrelated to that advertising which arise wholly in the foreign state.
Since the majority appears to hold otherwise, I respectfully dissent. In order for the District of Columbia Courts to properly assert personal jurisdiction over a foreign corporation, "service of process over the nonresident must be authorized by statute and be within the confines of the due process clause of the United States Constitution." Cohane v. Arpeja-California, Inc., 385 A.2d 153, 158 (D.C.), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 980, 58 L. Ed. 2d 651, 99 S. Ct. 567 (1978) (citing International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 90 L. Ed. 95, 66 S. Ct. 154 (1945)).
The statutory provisions at issue here are D.C. Code 13-423 (a)(1) and -423 (b) (long-arm statute). There is no real dispute in this case that Shoppers Food Warehouse's (Shoppers') advertisements for customers within the District were sufficient minimum activities to meet the "transacting business" requirement of 423 (a)(1). See Trerotola v. Cotter, 601 A.2d 60, 63 (D.C. 1991) (citing Cohane, 385 A.2d at 158).
What divides the court is whether the further condition imposed by 13-423 (b) is satisfied. I agree with my dissenting colleagues that it is not.
Section 423 (b) bars the exercise of jurisdiction over a foreign corporation where the claim is unrelated to the business transacted in the District by the corporation. See Trerotola, 601 A.2d at 63.
In other words, under this section, "jurisdiction is limited to claims arising from the particular transaction of business which provides the basis for jurisdiction." Cohane, 385 A.2d at 158 (citing D.C. Code 13-423 (b)).
That process, as set forth in our long-arm statute, provides in 423 (a)(1) and (b) a specific basis for the court's exercise of personal jurisdiction over a foreign corporation.
The exercise of that jurisdiction must conform to the statute and be consistent with due process. See Trerotola, 601 A.2d at 64; Cohane, 385 A.2d at 158. Under 13-423 (b), unless the claim "has a discernible relationship to the 'business' transacted in the District . . . asserted jurisdiction exceeds the limits of the due process clause of the Constitution." Trerotola, 601 A.2d at 64 (citing Cohane, 385 A.2d at 158).