Practical Law Glossary Item 1-502-4095 (Approx. 3 pages)
A court's power to adjudicate the rights and obligations of a person, corporation, or other legal entity within its jurisdictional reach. US courts may exercise personal jurisdiction over a litigant in several ways. For instance:
By filing a lawsuit, a plaintiff submits to the jurisdiction of the court where the lawsuit is filed.
US courts normally may exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant who is served with a summons within the forum state (that is, the state the lawsuit is filed).
US courts normally may exercise personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant who is served with a summons outside of the forum state where:
the forum state's rules governing jurisdiction over non-residents (also known as long-arm statutes) are satisfied;
the defendant has "minimum contacts" with the state, meaning that either the defendant engages in continuous and systematic conduct within the forum state (known as general jurisdiction) or the suit arises out of, or is related to, the defendant's contacts with the forum state (known as specific jurisdiction); and
the court's exercise of personal jurisdiction over the non-resident defendant is reasonable.