Personal Jurisdiction Over a Non-Resident Defendant
Federal constitutional requirements of due process limit the power of the state to assert personal jurisdiction over nonresident defendants. Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 413, 104 S. Ct. 1868, 1871-72, 80 L. Ed. 2d 404 (1984).
The United States Supreme Court divides the due process requirement into two parts:
(1) whether the nonresident defendant has purposely established minimum contacts with the forum state;
(2) if so, whether the exercise of jurisdiction comports with "fair play and substantial justice." Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 475-76, 105 S. Ct. 2174, 2183-84, 85 L. Ed. 2d 528 (1985).
Minimum contacts analysis requires a determination of whether the nonresident defendant has purposefully availed himself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum state, thus invoking the benefits and protection of its law. Guardian Royal, 815 S.W.2d at 226.
This "purposeful availment" requirement ensures that a nonresident defendant will not be haled into a jurisdiction based solely upon "random," "fortuitous," or "attenuated" contacts or the "unilateral activity of another party or third person." Guardian Royal, 815 S.W.2d at 226 (citing Burger King, 471 U.S. at 472, 105 S. Ct. at 2183).
Minimum contacts analysis has been further divided into general and specific jurisdiction.
General jurisdiction may be asserted when the cause of action does not arise from, or relate to, the nonresident defendant's purposeful conduct within the forum state, but there are continuous and systematic contacts between the nonresident and the forum state. Guardian Royal, 815 S.W.2d at 228.
When general jurisdiction is asserted, the minimum contacts analysis requires a showing of substantial activities in the forum state. Id.
The Texas long-arm statute authorizes the exercise of jurisdiction over non-residents "doing business" in Texas. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. 17.042 (Vernon 1997).
Although it lists particular acts which constitute "doing business," the statute also provides that the non-resident's "other acts" may satisfy the "doing business" requirement. Id. See Schlobohm v. Schapiro, 784 S.W.2d 355, 357 (Tex. 1990).
The "doing business" standard of our long-arm statute permits it to reach as far as the federal constitutional requirements of due process will allow. Guardian Royal Exchange Assur. Ltd. v. English China Clays, P.I.C., 815 S.W.2d 223, 226 (Tex. 1991).
As a result, we consider only whether it is consistent with federal constitutional requirements of due process for Texas courts to assert in personam jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant. Id; see also Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia v. Hall, 466 U.S. 408, 413-14, 104 S. Ct. 1868, 80 L. Ed. 2d 404 (1984).
Federal constitutional requirements of due process limit the power of the state to assert personal jurisdiction over non-resident defendants. Heliocopteros, 466 U.S. at 413-14.
The Federal Supreme Court divides the due process requirements into two parts:
whether the non-resident defendant has purposely established "minimum contacts" with the forum state and, if so;
whether the exercise of jurisdiction comports with "fair play and substantial justice." Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 475-76, 105 S. Ct. 2174, 85 L. Ed. 2d 528 (1985).
The Federal Supreme Court recognizes two categories of personal jurisdiction, specific and general. Guardian Royal, 815 S.W.2d at 228.
When specific jurisdiction is asserted, the cause of action must arise out of, or relate to, the non-resident defendant's contact with the forum state in order to satisfy the minimum contacts requirement. Helicopteros, 466 U.S. at 414, n.8.
General jurisdiction is applicable when the cause of action does not arise from, or relate to, the defendant's purposeful conduct within the forum state, but there are continuous and systematic contacts between the non-resident defendant and the forum state. Heliocopteros, 466 U.S. at 414-16.
In explicating the minimum contacts requirement as it applies to specific jurisdiction, the Supreme Court has observed that due process requires a defendant have "fair warning" that their conduct can make them subject to suit in a jurisdiction. Burger King, 471 U.S. at 472.
It instructs that the "fair warning" requirement is satisfied if the defendant has "purposefully directed" his activities at the residents of the forum state. Id.
The requirement that he had purposefully directed activities to forum residents ensures that a non-resident defendant will not be haled into a jurisdiction based solely upon "random," "fortuitous" or "attenuated" contacts or the "unilateral activity of another party or a third person." Id. at 475; World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 298, 100 S. Ct. 559, 62 L. Ed. 2d 490 (1980).
After determining that the non-resident defendant purposefully established minimum contacts with the forum state, we must evaluate the contacts in light of other factors to determine whether the assertion of personal jurisdiction comports with fair play and substantial justice. Asahi Metal Indus. Co. v. Superior Court, 480 U.S. 102, 113-115, 107 S. Ct. 1026, 94 L. Ed. 2d 92 (1987); Burger King, 471 U.S. at 476.
These factors include
the burden on the defendant;
the interests of the forum state in adjudicating the dispute;
the plaintiff's interest in obtaining convenient and effective relief;
the interstate judicial system's interest in obtaining the most efficient resolution of controversies;
the shared interest of the several states in furthering fundamental substantive social policies. Burger King, 471 U.S. at 477.
The United States Supreme Court has even commented that "these considerations sometimes serve to establish the reasonableness of jurisdiction upon a lesser showing of minimum contacts than would otherwise be required." Id.
A defendant challenging a court's exercise of personal jurisdiction through a special appearance carries the burden of negating all bases of personal jurisdiction. Kawasaki Steel Corp. v. Middleton, 699 S.W.2d 199, 203 (Tex. 1985).
As recently recognized by the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals in M.G.M. Grand Hotel, Inc. v. Castro, 8 S.W.3d 403, 407 n.1 (Tex.App.--Corpus Christi 1999, no pet. h.), there is a split of authority as to the proper standard of review over a trial court's resolution of questions of fact in a special appearance question. Even so, in Ball v. Bigham, 990 S.W.2d 343, 347 (Tex.App.-- Amarillo 1999, no pet.), as have the majority of Texas Courts of Appeal, we applied the factual sufficiency standard of review. See MGM Grand, supra. We adhere to that standard. But see, Magnolia Gas Co. v. Knight Equip. & Mfg. Corp., 994 S.W.2d 684 (Tex. App.--San Antonio 1998, no pet.).
Under the factual sufficiency standard, we may only reverse the decision of the trial court if its ruling is so against the great weight and preponderance of the evidence as to be manifestly erroneous or unjust. See In re King's Estate, 150 Tex. 662, 664-65, 244 S.W.2d 660, 661 (1951).
Although Freund requested findings of fact, the trial court made no such findings. In such instances, all questions of fact are presumed to support the judgment. Magnolia Gas Co., 994 S.W.2d at 690.
However, where, as here, a complete reporter's record is part of the record, these implied findings are not conclusive and an appellant may challenge the sufficiency of the evidence. Roberson v. Robinson, 768 S.W.2d 280, 281 (Tex. 1989).