OCGA 9-10-91 Interpretation
In Innovative Clinical & Consulting Svcs. v. First Nat. Bank of Ames, Iowa ("Innovative"), 279 Ga. 672 (620 SE2d 352) (2005) our Supreme Court concluded that OCGA 9-10-91 (1) "grants Georgia courts the unlimited authority to exercise personal jurisdiction over any nonresident who transacts any business in this state." Id. at 675.
Recognizing that "this statutory language would expand the personal jurisdiction of Georgia courts beyond that permitted by constitutional due process," the Court "construed subsection (1) as reaching only to the maximum extent permitted by procedural due process." Id.
"Due process requires that individuals have fair warning that a particular activity may subject them to the jurisdiction of a foreign sovereign." Beasley, supra at 421, citing Burger King v. Rudzewicz, 471 U. S. 462, 472 (II) (A) (105 S.Ct. 2174, 85 LE2d 528) (1985)
the question is "whether a defendant could reasonably expect to be haled into court in a particular forum," Beasley, supra, based on its contacts with the state.
The inquiry consists of a three-part test:
"Jurisdiction exists if (1) the nonresident defendant has purposefully done an act or consummated a transaction in Georgia, (2) the cause of action arises from or is connected with the act or transaction, and (3) the Georgia court's exercise of jurisdiction does not offend traditional fairness and substantial justice." ATCO Sign & Lighting Co., supra at 529. Accord Gateway Atlanta Apts. v. Harris, 290 Ga. App. 772, 779 (3) (a) (660 SE2d 750) (2008).
In other words, before a nonresident may be sued in Georgia, such nonresident "must have purposefully directed its activities at residents of the forum, and the litigation must result from alleged injuries that arise out of or relate to those activities." Stuart v. Peykan, Inc., 261 Ga. App. 46, 48 (1) (581 SE2d 609) (2003). See also Smith v. Smith, 254 Ga. 450, 453 (3) (330 SE2d 706) (1985) ("plaintiff must have a legal cause of action against the nonresident, which arises out of, or results from, the activity or activities of the defendant within the forum")
The first two elements are used to determine whether the nonresident defendant has established the minimum contacts necessary for a Georgia court to exercise personal jurisdiction. Beasley, supra.