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Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v.

Hall,

ER:

Facts

Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia (D), a Colombian corporation, purchased most


of its helicopter fleet and obtained training for some of its pilots from a Texas
manufacturer but had no place of business in Texas. Helicopteros contracted to
provide helicopter transportation service for a Peruvian consortium, which was the
alter ego of a joint venture headquartered in Houston. In the course of providing
service under the contract, one of defendant’s helicopters crashed killing four
American citizens on board.

Hall et al. (P) brought suit on behalf of the decedents in Texas state court against
Helicopteros and other parties including Bell Helicopter, the Texas-based
manufacturer of the helicopter. Helicopteros made a special appearance and moved
to quash service for lack of personal jurisdiction on the grounds that it had very
little contact with the state, and that its performance under the service contract
involved no contact with the state. The trial court denied Helicopteros’s motion and
the jury entered a verdict for Hall. The Texas Court of Appeals reversed, holding that
the court did not have personal jurisdiction over Helicopteros. The Texas Supreme
Court reinstated the trial court’s ruling and the jury award. The Supreme Court of the
United States granted certiorari.

Issue
• How extensive must a party’s contacts with a forum state be in order for a court of
that state to exercise general in personam jurisdiction over that party?
Ruling:
• In order to exercise general in personam jurisdiction over a party, the party’s
contacts with the forum state must be of a “continuous and systematic”
nature.
The court held that the defendant’s contacts with Texas did not satisfy the
requirements of the Due Process Clause, and the Texas court therefore could not
assert in personam jurisdiction over the corporation.

The one trip to Houston by the defendant’s CEO for negotiating the transportation
services contract and other activities unrelated to the cause of action were not
contacts of a continuous and systematic nature and did not support an assertion of
general jurisdiction. Nor did purchases of helicopters and training of its pilots from the
Texas manufacturer form a sufficient basis for jurisdiction. Mere purchases, even if
occurring at regular intervals, are not enough to warrant a State’s assertion of in
personam jurisdiction over a nonresident corporation in a cause of action not related
to the purchases. – Judgment reversed

Dissent (Brennan)

Helicopteros purposefully availed itself of the benefits and obligations of the forum
state. Active participants in interstate and foreign commerce take advantage of the
economic benefits and opportunities offered by the various states. It is only fair and
reasonable to subject to them to the obligations that may be imposed by those
jurisdictions. Contacts with the forum state were sufficiently related to the underlying
cause of action. The wrongful death claims assert the necessary requirements for
specific jurisdiction because Helicopteros had contacts with Texas that were directly
related to the negligence that Hall alleged in his complaint.

HELICOPTEROS NACIONALES DE COLOMBIA, S.A. v HALL


Justice Blackmun

D: Lack of residential or other contacts with forum state of itself does not
defeat otherwise proper jurisdiction.

D: Due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment operates to limit the


power of a state to assert in personam jurisdiction over a nonresident
defendant.

D: Due process requirements are satisfied when in personam jurisdiction is


asserted over a nonresident corporate defendant that has certain minimum
contacts with the forum such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend
traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.

Facts:

1. Petitioner Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. (HELICOL), is a


Colombian corporation with its principal place of business in the city of
Bogota, Columbia. It is engaged in the business of providing helicopter
transportation for oil and construction companies in South America. 94% of its
capital shares are owned by the Columbian national airline and the rest by
South American individuals.
2. One of HELICOL’s helicopters crashed in Peru. Four Americans on-board the
chopper died. The respondents are the survivors and heirs of the four
decedents.
3. At the time of the crash, the four who died were employees of Consorcio, a
Peruvian consortium based in Huston, Texas, and were working on a pipeline
in Peru. Consorcio is the alter ego of a joint venture named Williams–Sedco–
Horn (WSH). 9joint venture hereinafter referred to as Consorcio-WSH)
4. Consorcio had been formed to enable the venturers (Williams International
Sudamericana, Ltd., a Delaware corporation; Sedco Construction
Corporation, a Texas corporation; and Horn International, Inc., a Texas
corporation) to enter into a contract with Petro Peru, the Peruvian state-
owned oil company. Consorcio was to construct a pipeline for Petro Peru
running from the interior of Peru westward to the Pacific Ocean. Peruvian law
forbade construction of the pipeline by any non-Peruvian entity.
5. Consorcio-WSH commenced operations even before the service contract was
signed in Peru. The contract was in Spanish, written on official government
stationary and it also provided that the parties resided in Lima, Peru. It also
provided that any dispute arising from the contract will be submitted to the
jurisdiction of the Peruvian courts and all payments be made in favor of
HELICOL will be at the latter account in Bank of America in New York City.
6. The parties entered into several other contracts in Houston, Texas prior to the
present service contracts. It purchased helicopters (approximately 80% of its
fleet), spare parts, and accessories for more than $4 million from Bell
Helicopter Company in Fort Worth. In that period, Helicol sent prospective
pilots to Fort Worth for training and to ferry the aircraft to South America. It
also sent management and maintenance personnel to visit Bell Helicopter in
Fort Worth during the same period in order to receive “plant familiarization”
and for technical consultation. Helicol received into its New York City and
Panama City, Fla., bank accounts over $5 million in payments from
Consorcio/WSH drawn upon First City National Bank of Houston.
7. Beyond the foregoing, there have been no other business contacts between
Helicol and the State of Texas. Helicol never has been authorized to do
business in Texas; it never has had an agent for the service of process within
the State; it never has performed helicopter operations in Texas or sold any
product that reached Texas; it never solicited business in Texas; it never
signed any contract in Texas; it never had any employee based there, and it
never recruited an employee in Texas. In addition, Helicol never has owned
real or personal property in Texas and never has maintained an office or
establishment there. Helicol has maintained no records in Texas and has no
shareholders in that State.
8. None of the respondents or the four decedents were domiciled in Texas,
however, all of the decedents were hired in Houston by Consorcio/WSH to
work on the Petro Peru pipeline project.
9. Respondents instituted wrongful-death actions in the District Court of Harris
County, Texas against Consorcio/WSH, Bell Helicopter Company, and
Helicol. Helicol filed special appearances and moved to dismiss the actions
for lack of in personam jurisdiction over it; it was denied. After a consolidated
jury trial, judgment was entered against Helicol.
10. The Texas Court of Civil Appeals, Houston, First District, reversed the
judgment of the District Court, holding that in personam jurisdiction over
Helicol was lacking.
11. The Supreme Court of Texas, with three justices dissenting, initially affirmed
the judgment of the Court of Civil Appeals. Later, it reversed itself and stated
that the Texas courts had in personam jurisdiction, the Texas Supreme Court
first held that the State's long-arm statute reaches as far as the Due Process
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment permits. Thus, the only question
remaining for the court to decide was whether it was consistent with the Due
Process Clause for Texas courts to assert in personam jurisdiction over
Helicol.

Issue: WON Texas has in personam jurisdiction over Helicol ? ( guys, I am not sure
dito, medyo malabo yung case…)
Held: Yes, respondents' lack of residential or other contacts with Texas of itself does
not defeat otherwise proper jurisdiction. The court is exercising general jurisdiction
over his person.

Ratio:
The lack of contacts shows nothing about the nature of the relationship between
respondents and Helicol, which could possibly enhance Helicol's contacts with
Texas. The harm suffered by respondents did not occur in Texas. Nor is it alleged
that any negligence on the part of Helicol took place in Texas.

The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment operates to limit the power
of a State to assert in personam jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant. Due
process requirements are satisfied when in personam jurisdiction is asserted over a
nonresident corporate defendant that has “certain minimum contacts with [the forum]
such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend ‘traditional notions of fair play
and substantial justice.’ ”
When a controversy is related to or “arises out of” a defendant's contacts with the
forum, “relationship among the defendant, the forum, and the litigation” is the
essential foundation of in personam jurisdiction.

It has been said that when a State exercises personal jurisdiction over a defendant in
a suit arising out of or related to the defendant's contacts with the forum, the State is
exercising “specific jurisdiction” over the defendant.

Even when the cause of action does not arise out of or relate to the foreign
corporation's activities in the forum State, due process is not offended by a State's
subjecting the corporation to its in personam jurisdiction when there are sufficient
contacts between the State and the foreign corporation.

The court cites Perkins v. Benguet Consolidated Mining Co., where the Court
addressed a situation in which state courts had asserted general jurisdiction over a
defendant foreign corporation. In this case, the court held that a foreign corporation,
through its president, “ha[d] been carrying on in Ohio a continuous and systematic,
but limited, part of its general business,” and the exercise of general jurisdiction over
the Philippine corporation by an Ohio court was “reasonable and just.”

When a State exercises personal jurisdiction over a defendant in a suit not arising
out of or related to the defendant's contacts with the forum, the State has been said
to be exercising “general jurisdiction” over the defendant.

Issue: WON Helicol's contacts with the State of Texas constitute a continuous and
systematic general business contacts the Court found to exist in the Perkins case.
Held: No
Ratio:

Helicol did not have its principal place of office in Texas and was only sending
representatives to do business or transactions for operations in the said state.

TRIPS: The one trip to Houston by Helicol's chief executive officer for the purpose of
negotiating the transportation-services contract with Consorcio/WSH cannot be
described or regarded as a contact of a “continuous and systematic” nature, as
Perkins described it, and thus cannot support an assertion of in personam jurisdiction
over Helicol by a Texas court.

CHECKS: Similarly, Helicol's acceptance from Consorcio/WSH of checks drawn on a


Texas bank is of negligible significance for purposes of determining whether Helicol
had sufficient contacts in Texas. Such unilateral activity of another party or a third
person is not an appropriate consideration when determining whether a defendant
has sufficient contacts with a forum State to justify an assertion of jurisdiction.

PURCHASES: The Texas Supreme Court focused on the purchases and the related
training trips in Rosenberg Bros. & Co. v. Curtis Brown Co., the court clarified that
purchases and related trips, standing alone, are not a sufficient basis for a State's
assertion of jurisdiction. The Court concluded: “Visits on such business, even if
occurring at regular intervals, would not warrant the inference that the corporation
was present within the jurisdiction of [New York].”

Mere purchases, even if occurring at regular intervals, are not enough to warrant a
State's assertion of in personam jurisdiction over a nonresident corporation in a
cause of action not related to those purchase transactions. Nor can we conclude that
the fact that Helicol sent personnel into Texas for training in connection with the
purchase of helicopters and equipment in that State in any way enhanced the nature
of Helicol's contacts with Texas.

TRAINING: The training was a part of the package of goods and services purchased
by Helicol from Bell Helicopter. The brief presence of Helicol employees in Texas for
the purpose of attending the training sessions is no more a significant contact than
were the trips to New York made by the buyer for the retail store in Rosenberg.