Monday, December 17, 2012

Washington Shoe Co. v. A-Z Sporting Goods (9th Cir. - Dec. 17, 2012)

You undoubtedly read International Shoe v. Washington when you were a first-year law student.  Here's another personal jurisdiction case involving a seller of shoes and disputed litigation in Washington state.  This time it's Washington Shoe.

Judge Bybee writes an outstanding opinion.  As befits a former law professor.  Very clear, very persuasive.  It explains extremely well the "effects test" as applied to intentional torts and applies that test to claims of wilful copyright infringement.

It's sufficiently good that I think I will assign it to my first-year law students, who are always confused after they read Calder and attempt to understand the contours of the effects test.  My only hesitation is that I'm not sure that the Ninth Circuit's sharp distinction between "contracts" and "tort" cases (vis-a-vis personal jurisdiction) is actually an accurate reading of Supreme Court precedent.  But that's not Judge Bybee's fault; he's just repeating what the Ninth Circuit has already held, and makes an appropriate caveat in this regard in a footnote.

Very good opinon.  Helpful to practitioners, litigants and law students alike.