St. Louis Southwestern Ry. Co. v. Alexander - 227 U.S. 218 (1913)
U.S. Supreme Court
St. Louis Southwestern Ry. Co. v. Alexander, 227 U.S. 218 (1913)
St. Louis Southwestern Railway Company v. Alexander
Submitted December 2, 1912
Decided February 3, 1913
227 U.S. 218
In order to hold a corporation personally liable in a foreign jurisdiction, it must appear that the corporation was within the jurisdiction and that process was duly served upon one of its authorized agents.
A corporation is not amenable to service of process in a foreign jurisdiction unless it is transacting business therein to such an extent as to subject itself to the jurisdiction and laws thereof.
Under the Carmack Amendment, the initial carrier is not liable to suit in a foreign district unless it is carrying on business in the sense which would render other foreign corporations amenable to process.
No all embracing rule has been laid down as to what constitutes the manner of doing business by a foreign corporation to subject it to process in a given jurisdiction. Each case must be determined by its own facts.
The business done by a foreign corporation must be such in character and extent as to warrant the inference that it has subjected itself to the jurisdiction.
Where a railroad company establishes an office in a foreign district and its agents there attend to claims presented for settlement, as was done in this case, it is carrying on business to such an extent as to render it amenable to process under the law of that state.
Service of process on a resident director of a foreign corporation actually doing business in the New York is sufficient to give the court jurisdiction of the corporation.
The facts, which involve the construction of the Carmack Amendment as to the place where the initial carrier may be sued, and also as to what constitutes carrying on business within a district so as to make the initial carrier amenable to process therein, are stated in the opinion.