Personal Jurisdiction Challenges

The Dallas law firm of Bishop & Hummert, P.C. engages in the representation of out-of-state individuals and businesses who have been wrongfully sued in Texas due to a lack of proper personal jurisdiction.

What is Personal Jurisdiction?

A court cannot hear a case unless it has jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter to the dispute. In order to sue a person (or business or other legal entity), the court must be able to exercise personal jurisdiction, also known as in personam jurisdiction, over the party. The easiest way to do this is to serve the party with judicial process, such as a summons or complaint, while they are physically present within the state.

When the party is located outside the state and cannot be served process within the state, the challenge of obtaining personal jurisdiction becomes a complex legal issue. A large body of law has developed over the years addressing this question and delineating the parameters of personal jurisdiction. Basically, the exercise of jurisdiction requires that the party have some minimum contacts within the state related to the litigation. Although this may sound simple, personal jurisdiction questions can be among the most complex issues one encounters in the legal field.

Our attorneys are experienced in handling personal jurisdiction challenges on behalf of individuals and businesses with out of state clients who have been sued in Texas but who should not be sued in the state. A large portion of the firm's appellate practice has also involved appeals dealing with the question of personal jurisdiction.

Special Appearance

Unlike subject matter jurisdiction, the issue of personal jurisdiction can be waived. Such a waiver can happen through appearing in court, but also by filing an answer to the complaint or other motion in the case without objecting to the court's exercise of jurisdiction. In order to properly contest personal jurisdiction, the party must take care to make a special appearance solely to contest jurisdiction.

Shaping the Legal Landscape in Texas

One of the firm's cases, Moki Mac River Expeditions v. Drugg, led to a holding that a Texas court may assert specific jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant if the defendant's contact with the state is purposeful and the injury arises from or relates to those contacts. This case has been cited by the courts nearly 150 times since it was decided in 2007.

Seek Experienced Legal Representation

Being hauled into an out-of-state court can be an intimidating experience, not to mention the cost involved in travel to another jurisdiction to defend the case and the disruption in one's business or profession while the trial is taking place. If you are an out-of-state defendant being sued in Texas, speak with the attorneys who know Texas law, federal civil procedure, and have helped shape the law of personal jurisdiction in Texas. Contact Bishop & Hummert, P.C.