South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Arnold's Case against Ohio Car Dealer in California Terminated for Lack of Jurisdiction
Description Appeals court held that actor/governor Arnold Schwarzenegger did not show that an Ohio car dealer, accused of infringement of his right of publicity by using his photo in ads in Ohio, had sufficient minimum contacts in California for the courts there to have jurisdiction over the matter.
Topic Court Procedure
Key Words Jurisdiction; Minimum Contacts
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Fred Martin, a car dealer in Ohio, ran a series of full-page color advertisements in the Akron, Ohio, newspaper. Each ad included a photo of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the "Terminator." Schwarzenegger sued Martin in state court in California for unauthorized use of his image, an infringement of his right of publicity. Martin moved the action to federal court in California and moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction. The district court granted Martin's motion. Schwarzenegger appealed.
Decision

Affirmed. Martin does not have sufficient minimum contacts with California arising from, or related to, its actions in distributing an ad in Ohio. The complained of acts took place in Ohio. The plaintiff bears the proof of showing that the court would have jurisdiction, which was not done. The fact that some of Martin's cars were imported through California from Japan was not sufficient to create minimum contacts for business in California. The fact that people in California could see the Martin website was also insufficient to create minimum contacts in California.

Citation Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797 (9th Cir., 2004)

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