Petitioner, a Colombian corporation, entered into a contract to
provide helicopter transportation for a Peruvian consortium, the
alter ego of a joint venture that had its headquarters in Houston,
Tex., during the consortium's construction of a pipeline in Peru
for a Peruvian state-owned oil company. Petitioner has no place of
business in Texas, and never has been licensed to do business
there. Its only contacts with the State consisted of sending its
chief executive officer to Houston to negotiate the contract with
the consortium, accepting into its New York bank account checks
drawn by the consortium on a Texas bank, purchasing helicopters,
equipment, and training services from a Texas manufacturer, and
sending personnel to that manufacturer's facilities for training.
After a helicopter owned by petitioner crashed in Peru, resulting
in the death of respondents' decedents -- United States citizens
who were employed by the consortium -- respondents instituted
wrongful death actions in a Texas state court against the
consortium, the Texas manufacturer, and petitioner. Denying
petitioner's motion to dismiss the actions for lack of in personam
jurisdiction over it, the trial court entered judgment against
petitioner on a jury verdict in favor of respondents. The Texas
Court of Civil Appeals reversed, holding that in personam
jurisdiction over petitioner was lacking, but in turn was reversed
by the Texas Supreme Court.
Petitioner's contacts with Texas were
insufficient to satisfy the requirements of the Due Process Clause
of the Fourteenth Amendment, and hence to allow the Texas court to
assert in personam jurisdiction over petitioner. The one trip to
Houston by petitioner's chief executive officer for the purpose of
negotiating the transportation services contract cannot be regarded
as a contact of a "continuous and systematic" nature, and thus
cannot support an assertion of general jurisdiction. Similarly,
petitioner's acceptance of checks drawn on a Texas bank is of
negligible significance for purposes of determining whether
petitioner had sufficient contacts in Texas. Nor were petitioner's
purchases of helicopters and equipment from the Texas manufacturer
and the related training trips a sufficient basis for the Texas
court's assertion of jurisdiction. Rosenberg Bros. & Co. v.
Curtis Brown Co., 260 U. S. 516
Mere purchases, even if occurring at regular intervals, are not
enough to warrant
Page 466 U. S. 409
a State's assertion of in personam jurisdiction over a
nonresident corporation in a cause of action not related to the
purchases. And the fact that petitioner sent personnel to Texas for
training in connection with the purchases did not enhance the
nature of petitioner's contacts with Texas. Pp. 466 U. S.
BLACKMUN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which
BURGER, C.J., and WHITE, MARSHALL, POWELL, REHNQUIST STEVENS, and
O'CONNOR, JJ., joined. BRENNAN, J., filed a dissenting opinion,
p. 466 U. S.
JUSTICE BLACKMUN delivered the opinion of the Court.
We granted certiorari in this case, 460 U.S. 1021 (1983), to
decide whether the Supreme Court of Texas correctly ruled that the
contacts of a foreign corporation with the State of Texas were
sufficient to allow a Texas state court to assert jurisdiction over
the corporation in a cause of action not arising out of or related
to the corporation's activities within the State.
Petitioner Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S. A. (Helicol),
is a Colombian corporation with its principal place of business in
the city of Bogota in that country. It is engaged in the business
of providing helicopter transportation for oil and construction
companies in South America. On
Page 466 U. S. 410
January 26, 1976, a helicopter owned by Helicol crashed in Peru.
Four United States citizens were among those who lost their lives
in the accident. Respondents are the survivors and representatives
of the four decedents.
At the time of the crash, respondents' decedents were employed
by Consorcio, a Peruvian consortium, and were working on a pipeline
in Peru. Consorcio is the alter ego of a joint venture named
Williams-Sedco-Horn (WSH). [Footnote 1
] The venture had its headquarters in Houston,
Tex. Consorcio had been formed to enable the venturers 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
Consorcio/WSH [Footnote 2
needed helicopters to move personnel, materials, and equipment into
and out of the construction area. In 1974, upon request of
Consorcio/WSH, the chief executive officer of Helicol, Francisco
Restrepo, flew to the United States and conferred in Houston with
representatives of the three joint venturers. At that meeting,
there was a discussion of prices, availability, working conditions,
fuel, supplies, and housing. Restrepo represented that Helicol
could have the first helicopter on the job in 15 days. The
Consorcio/WSH representatives decided to accept the contract
proposed by Restrepo. Helicol began performing before the agreement
was formally signed in Peru on November 11, 1974. [Footnote 3
] The contract was written in
Page 466 U. S. 411
official government stationery and provided that the residence
of all the parties would be Lima, Peru. It further stated that
controversies arising out of the contract would be submitted to the
jurisdiction of Peruvian courts. In addition, it provided that
Consorcio/WSH would make payments to Helicol's account with the
Bank of America in New York City. App. 12a.
Aside from the negotiation session in Houston between Restrepo
and the representatives of Consorcio/WSH, Helicol had other
contacts with Texas. During the years 1970-1977, 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.
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, and 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, never solicited business in Texas, never signed any contract
in Texas, never had any employee based there, and 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. [Footnote 4
] None of the
Page 466 U. S. 412
respondents or their decedents were domiciled in Texas, Tr. of
Oral Arg. 17, 18, [Footnote 5
but all of the decedents were hired in Houston by Consorcio/WSH to
work on the Petro Peru pipeline project.
Respondents instituted wrongful death actions in the District
Court of Harris County, Tex., 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. The motion was denied. After a consolidated
jury trial, judgment was entered against Helicol on a jury verdict
of $1,141,200 in favor of respondents. [Footnote 6
] App. 174a.
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. 616 S.W.2d 247
(1981). The Supreme Court of Texas, with three justices dissenting,
initially affirmed the judgment of the Court of Civil Appeals. App.
to Pet. for Cert. 46a-62a. Seven months later, however, on motion
for rehearing, the court withdrew its prior opinions and, again
with three justices dissenting, reversed the judgment of the
intermediate court. 638 S.W.2d 870
(1982). In ruling that the Texas courts had
Page 466 U. S. 413
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. Id.
872. [Footnote 7
] 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
jurisdiction over Helicol. Ibid.
The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment operates to
limit the power of a State to assert in personam
Page 466 U. S. 414
jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant. Pennoyer v.
Neff, 95 U. S. 714
(1878). Due process requirements are satisfied when in
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.'"
International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.
, 326 U. S. 316
(1945), quoting Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.
, 311 U. S. 463
(1940). When a controversy is related to or "arises out of" a
defendant's contacts with the forum, the Court has said that a
"relationship among the defendant, the forum, and the litigation"
is the essential foundation of in personam
Shaffer v. Heitner, 433 U. S. 186
433 U. S. 204
(1977). [Footnote 8
Even when the cause of action does not arise out of or relate to
the foreign corporation's activities in the forum State, [Footnote 9
] 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. Perkins v. Benguet Consolidated
Mining Co., 342 U. S. 437
(1952); see Keeton v. Hustler Magazine, Inc., 465 U.
, 465 U. S.
-780 (1984). In Perkins,
the Court addressed
a situation in which state courts had asserted general jurisdiction
over a defendant foreign corporation. During the Japanese
Page 466 U. S. 415
occupation of the Philippine Islands, the president and general
manager of a Philippine mining corporation maintained an office in
Ohio from which he conducted activities on behalf of the company.
He kept company files and held directors' meetings in the office,
carried on correspondence relating to the business, distributed
salary checks drawn on two active Ohio bank accounts, engaged an
Ohio bank to act as transfer agent, and supervised policies dealing
with the rehabilitation of the corporation's properties in the
Philippines. In short, the 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." 342 U.S. at 342 U. S. 438
All parties to the present case concede that respondents' claims
against Helicol did not "arise out of," and are not related to,
Helicol's activities within Texas. [Footnote 10
] We thus must
Page 466 U. S. 416
explore the nature of Helicol's contacts with the State of Texas
to determine whether they constitute the kind of continuous and
systematic general business contacts the Court found to exist in
We hold that they do not.
It is undisputed that Helicol does not have a place of business
in Texas, and never has been licensed to do business in the State.
Basically, Helicol's contacts with Texas consisted of sending its
chief executive officer to Houston for a contract-negotiation
session; accepting into its New York bank account checks drawn on a
Houston bank; purchasing helicopters, equipment, and training
services from Bell Helicopter for substantial sums; and sending
personnel to Bell's facilities in Fort Worth for training.
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
it, see also International Shoe Co. v. Washington,
U.S. at 326 U. S. 320
and thus cannot support an assertion of in personam
jurisdiction over Helicol by a Texas court. 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. There is no indication that
Helicol ever requested that the checks be drawn on a Texas bank or
that there was any negotiation between Helicol and Consorcio/WSH
with respect to the location or identity of the bank on which
checks would be drawn. Common sense and everyday experience suggest
that, absent unusual circumstances, [Footnote 11
] the bank on which a check is drawn is
generally of little
Page 466 U. S. 417
consequence to the payee, and is a matter left to the discretion
of the drawer. 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. See Kulko v. California Superior
Court, 436 U. S. 84
436 U. S. 93
(1978) (arbitrary to subject one parent to suit in any State where
other parent chooses to spend time while having custody of child
pursuant to separation agreement); Hanson v. Denckla,
357 U. S. 235
357 U.S. 253
unilateral activity of those who claim some relationship with a
nonresident defendant cannot satisfy the requirement of contact
with the forum State"); see also
Lilly, Jurisdiction Over
Domestic and Alien Defendants, 69 Va.L.Rev. 85, 99 (1983).
The Texas Supreme Court focused on the purchases and the related
training trips in finding contacts sufficient to support an
assertion of jurisdiction. We do not agree with that assessment,
for the Court's opinion in Rosenberg Bros. & Co. v. Curtis
Brown Co., 260 U. S. 516
(1923) (Brandeis, J., for a unanimous tribunal), makes clear that
purchases and related trips, standing alone, are not a sufficient
basis for a State's assertion of jurisdiction.
The defendant in Rosenberg
was a small retailer in
Tulsa, Okla., who dealt in men's clothing and furnishings. It never
had applied for a license to do business in New York, nor had it at
any time authorized suit to be brought against it there. It never
had an established place of business in New York, and never
regularly carried on business in that State. Its only connection
with New York was that it purchased from New York wholesalers a
large portion of the merchandise sold in its Tulsa store. The
purchases sometimes were made by correspondence and sometimes
through visits to New York by an officer of the defendant. The
"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]."
Page 466 U. S. 418
This Court in International Shoe
acknowledged, and did
not repudiate, its holding in Rosenberg. See
U.S. at 326 U. S. 318
In accordance with Rosenberg,
we hold that 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. [Footnote
] 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. 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. See also
Kulko v. California Superior Court,
436 U.S. at 436 U. S. 93
(basing California jurisdiction on 3-day and 1-day stopovers in
that State "would make a mockery of " due process limitations on
assertion of personal jurisdiction).
We hold that Helicol's contacts with the State of Texas were
insufficient to satisfy the requirements of the Due Process
Page 466 U. S. 419
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. [Footnote 13
] Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of
the Supreme Court of Texas.
It is so ordered.
The participants in the joint venture were Williams
International Sudamericana, Ltd., a Delaware corporation; Sedco
Construction Corporation, a Texas corporation; and Horn
International, Inc., a Texas corporation.
Throughout the record in this case, the entity is referred to
both as Consorcio and as WSH. We refer to it hereinafter as
Respondents acknowledge that the contract was executed in Peru,
and not in the United States. Tr. of Oral Arg. 22-23. See
App. 79a; Brief for Respondents 3.
The Colombian national airline, Aerovias Nacionales de Colombia,
owns approximately 94% of Helicol's capital stock. The remainder is
held by Aerovias Corporacion de Viajes and four South American
Brief for Petitioner 2, n. 2.
Respondents' lack of residential or other contacts with Texas of
itself does not defeat otherwise proper jurisdiction. Keeton v.
Hustler Magazine, Inc., 465 U. S. 770
465 U. S. 780
(1984); Calder v. Jones, 465 U. S. 783
465 U. S. 788
(1984). We mention respondents' lack of contacts merely to show
that nothing in the nature of the relationship between respondents
and Helicol 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
Defendants Consorcio WSH and Bell Helicopter Company were
granted directed verdicts with respect to respondents' claims
against them. Bell Helicopter was granted a directed verdict on
Helicol's cross-claim against it. App. 167a. Consorcio/WSH, as
cross-plaintiff in a claim against Helicol, obtained a judgment in
the amount of $70,000. Id.
The State's long-arm statute is Tex.Rev.Civ.Stat.Ann., Art.
2031b (Vernon 1964 and Supp.1982-1983). It reads in relevant
"Sec. 3. Any foreign corporation . . . that engages in business
in this State, irrespective of any Statute or law respecting
designation or maintenance of resident agents, and does not
maintain a place of regular business in this State or a designated
agent upon whom service may be made upon causes of action arising
out of such business done in this State, the act or acts of
engaging in such business within this State shall be deemed
equivalent to an appointment by such foreign corporation . . . of
the Secretary of State of Texas as agent upon whom service of
process may be made in any action, suit or proceedings arising out
of such business done in this State, wherein such corporation . . .
is a party or is to be made a party."
"Sec. 4. For the purpose of this Act, and without including
other acts that may constitute doing business, any foreign
corporation . . . shall be deemed doing business in this State by
entering into contract by mail or otherwise with a resident of
Texas to be performed in whole or in part by either party in this
State, or the committing of any tort in whole or in part in this
State. The act of recruiting Texas residents, directly or through
an intermediary located in Texas, for employment inside or outside
of Texas shall be deemed doing business in this State."
The last sentence of § 4 was added by 1979 Tex.Gen.Laws, ch.
245, § 1, and became effective August 27, 1979.
The Supreme Court of Texas, in its principal opinion, relied
upon rulings in U-Anchor Advertising, Inc. v.
Burt, 553 S.W.2d 760
(Tex.1977); Hoppenfeld v. Crook,
498 S.W.2d 52
(Tex.Civ.App.1973); and O'Brien v. Lanpar
Co., 399 S.W.2d 340
(Tex.1966). It is not within our province, of course, to determine
whether the Texas Supreme Court correctly interpreted the State's
long-arm statute. We therefore accept that court's holding that the
limits of the Texas statute are coextensive with those of the Due
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. See
& Trautman, Jurisdiction to Adjudicate: A Suggested Analysis,
79 Harv.L.Rev. 1121, 1144-1164 (1966).
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. See
Contacts Count: Due Process Limitations on State Court
Jurisdiction, 1980 S.Ct.Rev. 77, 80-81; Von Mehren & Trautman,
79 Harv.L.Rev. at 1136-1144; Calder v. Jones,
465 U.S. at
465 U. S.
Brief for Respondents 14; Tr. of Oral Arg. 26-27,
30-31. Because the parties have not argued any relationship between
the cause of action and Helicol's contacts with the State of Texas,
we, contrary to the dissent's implication, post
466 U. S.
-420, assert no "view" with respect to that
The dissent suggests that we have erred in drawing no
distinction between controversies that "relate to" a defendant's
contacts with a forum and those that "arise out of" such contacts.
at 466 U. S. 420
This criticism is somewhat puzzling, for the dissent goes on to
urge that, for purposes of determining the constitutional validity
of an assertion of specific jurisdiction, there really should be no
distinction between the two. Post
at 466 U. S.
We do not address the validity or consequences of such a
distinction, because the issue has not been presented in this case.
Respondents have made no argument that their cause of action either
arose out of or is related to Helicol's contacts with the State of
Texas. Absent any briefing on the issue, we decline to reach the
questions (1) whether the terms "arising out of" and "related to"
describe different connections between a cause of action and a
defendant's contacts with a forum, and (2) what sort of tie between
a cause of action and a defendant's contacts with a forum is
necessary to a determination that either connection exists. Nor do
we reach the question whether, if the two types of relationship
differ, a forum's exercise of personal jurisdiction in a situation
where the cause of action "relates to," but does not "arise out
of," the defendant's contacts with the forum should be analyzed as
an assertion of specific jurisdiction.
For example, if the financial health and continued ability of
the bank to honor the draft are questionable, the payee might
request that the check be drawn on an account at some other
This Court in International Shoe
for the proposition that
"the commission of some single or occasional acts of the
corporate agent in a state sufficient to impose an obligation or
liability on the corporation has not been thought to confer upon
the state authority to enforce it."
326 U.S. at 326 U. S. 318
Arguably, therefore, Rosenberg
also stands for the
proposition that mere purchases are not a sufficient basis for
either general or specific jurisdiction. Because the case before us
is one in which there has been an assertion of general jurisdiction
over a foreign defendant, we need not decide the continuing
validity of Rosenberg
with respect to an assertion of
specific jurisdiction, i.e.,
where the cause of action
arises out of or relates to the purchases by the defendant in the
As an alternative to traditional minimum contacts analysis,
respondents suggest that the Court hold that the State of Texas had
personal jurisdiction over Helicol under a doctrine of
"jurisdiction by necessity." See Shaffer v. Heitner,
433 U. S. 186
433 U. S. 211
n. 37 (1977). We conclude, however, that respondents failed to
carry their burden of showing that all three defendants could not
be sued together in a single forum. It is not clear from the
record, for example, whether suit could have been brought against
all three defendants in either Colombia or Peru. We decline to
consider adoption of a doctrine of jurisdiction by necessity -- a
potentially far-reaching modification of existing law -- in the
absence of a more complete record.
JUSTICE BRENNAN, dissenting.
Decisions applying the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment to determine whether a State may constitutionally assert
jurisdiction over a particular defendant for a
particular cause of action most often turn on a weighing of facts.
See, e.g., Kulko v. California Superior Court,
436 U. S. 84
436 U. S. 92
at 436 U. S.
-102 (BRENNAN, J., dissenting). To a large extent,
today's decision follows the usual pattern. Based on essentially
undisputed facts, the Court concludes that petitioner Helicol's
contacts with the State of Texas were insufficient to allow the
Texas state courts constitutionally to assert "general
jurisdiction" over all claims filed against this foreign
corporation. Although my independent weighing of the facts leads me
to a different conclusion, see infra
at 466 U. S.
-424, the Court's holding on this issue is neither
implausible nor unexpected.
What is troubling about the Court's opinion, however, are the
implications that might be drawn from the way in which the Court
approaches the constitutional issue it addresses. First, the Court
limits its discussion to an assertion of general jurisdiction of
the Texas courts because, in its view, the
Page 466 U. S. 420
underlying cause of action does "not aris[e] out of or relat[e]
to the corporation's activities within the State." Ante
466 U. S. 409
Then, the Court relies on a 1923 decision in Rosenberg Bros.
& Co. v. Curtis Brown Co., 260 U.
, without considering whether that case retains
any validity after our more recent pronouncements concerning the
permissible reach of a State's jurisdiction. By posing and deciding
the question presented in this manner, I fear that the Court is
saying more than it realizes about constitutional limitations on
the potential reach of in personam
particular, by relying on a precedent whose premises have long been
discarded, and by refusing to consider any distinction between
controversies that "relate to" a defendant's contacts with the
forum and causes of action that "arise out of" such contacts, the
Court may be placing severe limitations on the type and amount of
contacts that will satisfy the constitutional minimum.
In contrast, I believe that the undisputed contacts in this case
between petitioner Helicol and the State of Texas are sufficiently
important, and sufficiently related to the underlying cause of
action, to make it fair and reasonable for the State to assert
personal jurisdiction over Helicol for the wrongful death actions
filed by the respondents. Given that Helicol has purposefully
availed itself of the benefits and obligations of the forum, and
given the direct relationship between the underlying cause of
action and Helicol's contacts with the forum, maintenance of this
suit in the Texas courts "does not offend [the] traditional
notions of fair play and substantial justice,'" International
Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U. S. 310,
326 U. S. 316
(1945) (quoting Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.
S. 457, 311 U. S. 463
(1940)), that are the touchstone of jurisdictional analysis under
the Due Process Clause. I therefore dissent.
The Court expressly limits its decision in this case to "an
assertion of general jurisdiction over a foreign defendant."
Page 466 U. S. 421
at 466 U. S. 418
n. 12. See ante
at 466 U. S. 415
and n. 10. Having framed the question in this way, the Court is
obliged to address our prior holdings in Perkins v. Benguet
Consolidated Mining Co., 342 U. S. 437
(1952), and Rosenberg Bros. & Co. v. Curtis Brown Co.,
the Court considered a State's
assertion of general jurisdiction over a foreign corporation that
"ha[d] been carrying on . . . a continuous and systematic, but
limited, part of its general business" in the forum. 342 U.S. at
342 U. S. 438
Under the circumstances of that case, we held that such contacts
were constitutionally sufficient "to make it reasonable and just to
subject the corporation to the jurisdiction" of that State.
at 342 U. S. 445
(citing International Shoe, supra,
at 326 U. S.
-320). Nothing in Perkins
that such "continuous and systematic" contacts are a necessary
minimum before a State may constitutionally assert general
jurisdiction over a foreign corporation.
The Court therefore looks for guidance to our 1923 decision in
which until today was of dubious
validity given the subsequent expansion of personal jurisdiction
that began with International Shoe, supra,
in 1945. In
the Court held that a company's purchases
within a State, even when combined with related trips to the State
by company officials, would not allow the courts of that State to
assert general jurisdiction over all claims against the nonresident
corporate defendant making those purchases. [Footnote 2/1
Page 466 U. S. 422
Reasoning by analogy, the Court in this case concludes that
Helicol's contacts with the State of Texas are no more significant
than the purchases made by the defendant in Rosenberg.
Court makes no attempt, however, to ascertain whether the narrow
view of in personam
jurisdiction adopted by the Court in
comports with "the fundamental transformation of
our national economy" that has occurred since 1923. McGee v.
International Life Ins. Co., 355 U. S. 220
355 U. S.
-223 (1957). See also World-Wide Volkswagen Corp.
v. Woodson, 444 U. S. 286
444 U. S.
-293 (1980); id.
at 444 U. S.
-309 (BRENNAN, J., dissenting); Hanson v.
Denckla, 357 U. S. 235
357 U. S.
-251 (1958); id.
at 357 U. S. 260
(Black, J., dissenting). This failure, in my view, is fatal to the
The vast expansion of our national economy during the past
several decades has provided the primary rationale for expanding
the permissible reach of a State's jurisdiction under the Due
Process Clause. By broadening the type and amount of business
opportunities available to participants in interstate and foreign
commerce, our economy has increased the frequency with which
foreign corporations actively pursue commercial transactions
throughout the various States. In turn, it has become both
necessary and, in my view, desirable to allow the States more
leeway in bringing the activities of these nonresident corporations
within the scope of their respective jurisdictions.
This is neither a unique nor a novel idea. As the Court first
noted in 1957:
"[M]any commercial transactions touch two or more States, and
may involve parties separated by the full continent. With this
increasing nationalization of commerce has come a great increase in
the amount of business conducted by mail across state lines. At
Page 466 U. S. 423
same time, modern transportation and communication have made it
much less burdensome for a party sued to defend himself in a State
where he engages in economic activity."
at 355 U. S.
-223. See also World-Wide Volkswagen, supra,
at 444 U. S. 293
(reaffirming that "[t]he historical developments noted in
. . . have only accelerated in the generation since
that case was decided"); Hanson v. Denckla, supra,
357 U. S.
Moreover, this "trend . . . toward expanding the permissible
scope of state jurisdiction over foreign corporations and other
nonresidents," McGee, supra,
at 355 U. S. 222
is entirely consistent with the "traditional notions of fair play
and substantial justice," International Shoe,
326 U.S. at
326 U. S. 316
that control our inquiry under the Due Process Clause. As 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 them to the
obligations that may be imposed by those jurisdictions. And chief
among the obligations that a nonresident corporation should expect
to fulfill is amenability to suit in any forum that is
significantly affected by the corporation's commercial
As a foreign corporation that has actively and purposefully
engaged in numerous and frequent commercial transactions in the
State of Texas, Helicol clearly falls within the category of
nonresident defendants that may be subject to that forum's general
jurisdiction. Helicol not only purchased helicopters and other
equipment in the State for many years, but also sent pilots and
management personnel into Texas to be trained in the use of this
equipment and to consult with the seller on technical matters.
negotiations for the
Page 466 U. S. 424
contract under which Helicol provided transportation services to
the joint venture that employed the respondents' decedents also
took place in the State of Texas. Taken together, these contacts
demonstrate that Helicol obtained numerous benefits from its
transaction of business in Texas. In turn, it is eminently fair and
reasonable to expect Helicol to face the obligations that attach to
its participation in such commercial transactions. Accordingly, on
the basis of continuous commercial contacts with the forum, I would
conclude that the Due Process Clause allows the State of Texas to
assert general jurisdiction over petitioner Helicol.
The Court also fails to distinguish the legal principles that
controlled our prior decisions in Perkins
In particular, the contacts between petitioner
Helicol and the State of Texas, unlike the contacts between the
defendant and the forum in each of those cases, are significantly
related to the cause of action alleged in the original suit filed
by the respondents. Accordingly, in my view, it is both fair and
reasonable for the Texas courts to assert specific jurisdiction
over Helicol in this case.
By asserting that the present case does not implicate the
specific jurisdiction of the Texas courts, see ante
466 U. S. 415
and nn. 10 and 12, the Court necessarily removes its decision
Page 466 U. S. 425
from the reality of the actual facts presented for our
consideration. [Footnote 2/3
Moreover, the Court refuses to consider any distinction between
contacts that are "related to" the underlying cause of action and
contacts that "give rise" to the underlying cause of action. In my
view, however, there is a substantial difference between these two
standards for asserting specific jurisdiction. Thus, although I
agree that the respondents' cause of action did not formally "arise
out of" specific activities initiated by Helicol in the State of
Texas, I believe that the wrongful death claim filed by the
respondents is significantly related to the undisputed contacts
between Helicol and the forum. On that basis, I would conclude that
the Due Process Clause allows the Texas courts to assert specific
jurisdiction over this particular action.
The wrongful death actions filed by the respondents were
premised on a fatal helicopter crash that occurred in Peru. Helicol
was joined as a defendant in the lawsuits because it provided
transportation services, including the particular helicopter and
pilot involved in the crash, to the joint venture
Page 466 U. S. 426
that employed the decedents. Specifically, the respondent Hall
claimed in her original complaint that "Helicol is . . . legally
responsible for its own negligence through its pilot employee."
App. 6a. Viewed in light of these allegations, the contacts between
Helicol and the State of Texas are directly and significantly
related to the underlying claim filed by the respondents. The
negotiations that took place in Texas led to the contract in which
Helicol agreed to provide the precise transportation services that
were being used at the time of the crash. Moreover, the helicopter
involved in the crash was purchased by Helicol in Texas, and the
pilot whose negligence was alleged to have caused the crash was
actually trained in Texas. See
Tr. Of Oral Arg. 5, 22.
This is simply not a case, therefore, in which a state court has
asserted jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant on the basis of
wholly unrelated contacts with the forum. Rather, the contacts
between Helicol and the forum are directly related to the
negligence that was alleged in the respondent Hall's original
complaint. [Footnote 2/4
Helicol should have expected to be amenable to suit in the Texas
courts for claims directly related to these contacts, it is fair
and reasonable to allow the assertion of jurisdiction in this
Despite this substantial relationship between the contacts and
the cause of action, the Court declines to consider whether the
courts of Texas may assert specific jurisdiction over this suit.
Apparently, this simply reflects a narrow interpretation of the
question presented for review. See ante
at 466 U. S.
-416, n. 10. It is nonetheless possible that the
Court's opinion may be read to imply that the specific jurisdiction
of the Texas courts is inapplicable because the cause of action
Page 466 U. S. 427
did not formally "arise out of" the contacts between Helicol and
the forum. In my view, however, such a rule would place
unjustifiable limits on the bases under which Texas may assert its
jurisdictional power. [Footnote
Limiting the specific jurisdiction of a forum to cases in which
the cause of action formally arose out of the defendant's contacts
with the State would subject constitutional standards under the Due
Process Clause to the vagaries of the substantive law or pleading
requirements of each State. For example, the complaint filed
against Helicol in this case alleged negligence based on pilot
error. Even though the pilot was trained in Texas, the Court
assumes that the Texas courts may not assert jurisdiction over the
suit because the cause of action "did not arise out of,' and
[is] not related to," that training. See ante at
466 U. S. 415.
If, however, the applicable substantive law required that negligent
training of the pilot was a necessary element of a cause of action
for pilot error, or if the respondents had simply added an
allegation of negligence in the training provided for the Helicol
pilot, then presumably the Court would concede that the specific
jurisdiction of the Texas courts was applicable.
Our interpretation of the Due Process Clause has never been so
dependent upon the applicable substantive law or the State's formal
pleading requirements. At least since International Shoe Co. v.
Washington, 326 U. S. 310
(1945), the principal focus when determining whether a forum may
constitutionally assert jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant
has been on fairness and reasonableness to the defendant. To this
extent, a court's specific jurisdiction should be applicable
whenever the cause of action arises out of or relates to the
contacts between the defendant and the forum. It is eminently
Page 466 U. S. 428
fair and reasonable, in my view, to subject a defendant to suit
in a forum with which it has significant contacts directly related
to the underlying cause of action. Because Helicol's contacts with
the State of Texas meet this standard, I would affirm the judgment
of the Supreme Court of Texas.
The Court leaves open the question whether the decision in
was intended to address any constitutional
limits on an assertion of "specific jurisdiction." Ante
466 U. S. 418
n. 12 (citing International Shoe,
326 U.S. at 326 U. S.
). If anything is clear from Justice Brandeis'
opinion for the Court in Rosenberg,
however, it is that
the Court was concerned only with general jurisdiction over the
corporate defendant. See
260 U.S. at 260 U. S. 517
("The sole question for decision is whether . . . defendant was
doing business within the State of New York in such manner and to
such extent as to warrant the inference that it was present
at 260 U. S. 518
(the corporation's contacts with the forum "would not warrant the
inference that the corporation was present within the jurisdiction
of the State"); ante
at 466 U. S. 417
The Court's resuscitation of Rosenberg,
have no bearing upon any forum's assertion of jurisdiction over
claims that arise out of or relate to a defendant's contacts with
Although the Court takes note of these contacts, it concludes
that they did not
"enhanc[e] the nature of Helicol's contacts with Texas [because
the] training was a part of the package of goods and services
purchased by Helicol."
at 466 U. S. 418
Presumably, the Court's statement simply recognizes that
participation in today's interdependent markets often necessitates
the use of complicated purchase contracts that provide for numerous
contacts between representatives of the buyer and seller, as well
as training for related personnel. Ironically, however, while
relying on these modern-day realities to denigrate the significance
of Helicol's contacts with the forum, the Court refuses to
acknowledge that these same realities require a concomitant
expansion in a forum's jurisdictional reach. See supra
466 U. S.
-423. As a result, when deciding that the balance in
this case must be struck against jurisdiction, the Court loses
sight of the ultimate inquiry -- whether it is fair and reasonable
to subject a nonresident corporate defendant to the jurisdiction of
a State when that defendant has purposefully availed itself of the
benefits and obligations of that particular forum. Cf. Hanson
v. Denckla, 357 U. S. 235
357 U.S. 253
Nor do I agree with the Court that the respondents have conceded
that their claims are not related to Helicol's activities within
the State of Texas. Although parts of their written and oral
arguments before the Court proceed on the assumption that no such
relationship exists, other portions suggest just the opposite:
"If it is the concern of the Solicitor General [appearing for
the United States as amicus curiae
] that a holding for
Respondents here will cause foreign companies to refrain from
purchasing in the United States for fear of exposure to general
jurisdiction on unrelated causes of action, such concern is not
"Respondents' cause is not dependent on a ruling that mere
purchases in a state, together with incidental training for
operating and maintaining the merchandise purchased, can constitute
the ties, contacts and relations necessary to justify jurisdiction
over an unrelated cause of action. However, regular purchases and
training coupled with other contacts, ties and relations may form
the basis for jurisdiction."
Brief for Respondents 13-14. Thus, while the respondents'
position before this Court is admittedly less than clear, I believe
it is preferable to address the specific jurisdiction of the Texas
courts because Helicol's contacts with Texas are in fact related to
the underlying cause of action.
The jury specifically found that "the pilot failed to keep the
helicopter under proper control," that "the helicopter was flown
into a treetop fog condition, whereby the vision of the pilot was
impaired," that "such flying was negligence," and that "such
negligence . . . was a proximate cause of the crash." See
App. 167a-168a. On the basis of these findings, Helicol was ordered
to pay over $1 million in damages to the respondents.
Von Mehren & Trautman, Jurisdiction to
Adjudicate: A Suggested Analysis, 79 Harv.L.Rev. 1121, 1144-1163
Brilmayer, How Contacts Count: Due Process
Limitations on State Court Jurisdiction, 1980 S.Ct.Rev. 77, 80-88.
Lilly, Jurisdiction Over Domestic and Alien
Defendants, 69 Va.L.Rev. 85, 100-101, and n. 66 (1983).