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Burden on Canadian to Appear in Kentucky Court Is Small
Description Canadian firm failed to pay for $95,000 worth of goods delivered by a Kentucky company under an agreement that specified Kentucky law. Appeals court held that the burden on the foreign firm was minimal to defend itself given the close distance and the strong interest of the forum state and the plaintiff.
Topic International Law
Key Words Jurisdiction
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Aristech, a Delaware company, has a plant in Kentucky. AFL is a company located in Ontario, Canada, that had purchased products from Aristech in the past and from Aristech's Canadian distributor. AFL discussed doing substantial business with Aristech, which sent a representative to Ontario to discuss business and show samples. AFL made an order worth about $95,000 that Aristech acknowledged on a form that specified that Kentucky law governed the transaction. AFL failed to pay. Aristech sued in Kentucky state court, which AFL moved to federal court and was then granted a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Aristech appealed.
Court of Appeals Decision Reversed. The court can exercise personal jurisdiction over AFL. First, AFL purposefully availed itself of the privilege of acting in Kentucky. Second, a cause of action arose from AFL's actions (a contract) in Kentucky. AFL agreed to have Kentucky law govern the relationship. Third, the exercise of jurisdiction is reasonable and satisfied the Supreme Court's determinations in the Asahi case to balance the burdens on the various parties. Ontario is not far from Kentucky, so the burden of defending the action there is not great.
Citation Aristech Chemical Incl. Ltd. v. Acrylic Fabricators Ltd., 1998 WL 104746 (6th Cir.)
138 F.3d 624 (6th Cir., 1998)

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