Friday, November 06, 2015

Buchanan v. Soto (Cal. Ct. App. - Nov. 6, 2015)

Everything that Justice Benke says in today's opinion is correct.

Except I'd delete the third footnote.

The Court of Appeal is correct that there was personal jurisdiction (as well as proper service) over the defendant, who received real property in California from a debtor as a fraudulent conveyance.  That the defendant, after the conveyance, went to Mexico, and evaded service of process there, does not change things.  Justice Benke rightly holds that he's got the requisite minimum contacts because he owns real property in California and the dispute (the fraudulent conveyance action) arose out of those contacts with the forum.

Footnote three, however, tangentially notes that defendant also owns other real property in California that did not give rise to the fraudulent conveyance action, and then cites the Supreme Court's opinion in McGee as indicating that even a single contact with the forum state may be sufficient for minimum contacts, thereby suggesting that the other properly alone might also create personal jurisdiction.

McGee did indeed say that a single contact alone might be sufficient.  But only if, as in McGee, that single contact gave rise to the cause of action.  However, here, even if the defendant had other real property in California, that wouldn't matter, since that property didn't give rise to the fraudulent conveyance cause of action alleged by plaintiff.  So it's irrelevant.  (Unless those contacts somehow created general jurisdiction, which is an issue that the Court of Appeal expressly doesn't reach.)

So it's fine to mention that the defendant had other property.  But I wouldn't include a footnote that suggests that under McGee that might be enough to create specific jurisdiction.  Because it wouldn't.