HONDA MOTOR COMPANY, LTD. v. COONS
Annotate this Case
469 U.S. 1123 (1985)
U.S. Supreme Court
HONDA MOTOR COMPANY, LTD. v. COONS , 469 U.S. 1123 (1985)
469 U.S. 1123
HONDA MOTOR COMPANY, LTD.
Walter P. COONS
Walter P. COONS
HONDA MOTOR COMPANY, LTD
Supreme Court of the United States
January 7, 1985
On petitions for writs of certiorari to the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
The petitions for writs of certiorari are denied.
Justice REHNQUIST, dissenting.
In his cross-petition for certiorari Walter P. Coons seeks review of the New Jersey Supreme Court's holding that the New Jersey tolling statute, N.J.Stat.Ann. 2A:14-22 (West 1952), violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution because it tolls the statute of limitations for claims against corporations not represented in New Jersey. Coons v. American Honda Motor Co., 94 N.J. 307, 463 A.2d 921 (1983). We upheld the constitutionality of this statute against equal protection and due process challenges in G.D. Searle & Co. v. Cohn, 455 U.S. 404 (1982). We expressly reserved the Commerce Clause question in Searle because the applicable New Jersey law was unclear. Id., at 413-414. We also vacated the judgment below and remanded to New Jersey courts a previous appeal arising out of Coons' lawsuit, for reconsideration in light of Searle. Honda Motor Co. v. Coons, 455 U.S. 996 (1982). That remand resulted in the New Jersey Supreme Court holding here, which Coons claims misapplies the Commerce Clause. Coons' suit has clarified the New Jersey law on the subject, and in striking down the New Jersey statute I think that the Supreme Court of New Jersey has gone beyond any of our Commerce Clause decisions. I would grant certiorari to review its decision.
Coons was burned badly when the fuel filler cap on his Honda motorcycle malfunctioned during a collision. New Jersey provides a 2-year statute of limitations for the type of injury suffered by Coons. N.J.Stat. Ann. 2A:14-2 (West 1952). Coons waited four years, however, and brought suit in state court against Honda Motor Co. (American Honda) and its parent Honda Motor Co. of Japan (Honda of Japan). American Honda had a certificate to do business in New Jersey, as required by N.J.Stat.Ann. 14A:13-4 (West 1969); Honda of Japan had no certificate. Because Honda of Japan had no certificate it was not "represented" in New Jersey under N. J.Stat.Ann. 2A:14-22 (West 1952), and that statute therefore tolled the 2-year limitations period for all unrepresented corporations. [Footnote 1] Thus American Honda [469 U.S. 1123 , 1125]