In many instances in which a person is harmed by a corporation, the person will be a citizen of one state, while the corporation will be recognized as a citizen of another state. Thus, in many cases in which a plaintiff seeks damages from a corporation, the case will either be filed in or removed to federal court. Simply because a case is filed in or removed to a federal court does not mean that the court can properly exercise jurisdiction over a matter, however. This was discussed in a recent Massachusetts case in which the District Court assessed whether it had sufficient grounds to exercise jurisdiction over the corporate defendant under the Massachusetts long-arm statute. If you sustained harm due to corporate negligence, it is prudent to meet with a skillful Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss what compensation you may be able to recover.
It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent used the defendant’s cleaners and solvents for automobile parts throughout the duration of his career as a mechanic in Florida. He subsequently was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome and leukemia, which he ultimately died from. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendant in Massachusetts state court, alleging the defendant knowingly sold products that contained carcinogens, and that the decedent’s exposure to those products ultimately resulted in his death. The defendant removed the case to the District Court and then filed a motion to dismiss. On review, the court denied the defendant’s motion.
Jurisdiction Under the Massachusetts Long-Arm Statute
For a court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant, a plaintiff must first satisfy the Massachusetts Long-Arm Statute (the Statute). Under the Statute, a court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a company that has its principal place of business in Massachusetts or causes a tortious injury in Massachusetts, either directly or through an agent. A plaintiff alleging jurisdiction based on a tortious injury must demonstrate that a tortious act occurred in Massachusetts. A court evaluating where the harm occurred will assess whether the defendant’s contact’s within the state should be considered the first event in a chain of events that led to the plaintiff’s harm.