In Advanced Tactical Ordinance Sys., LLC v. Real Action Paintball, Inc., - F.3d -, 2014 WL 1849629 (7th Cir. May 9, 2014), the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held alleged commercial torts and violations of the Lanham Act directed against the Indiana plaintiff were insufficient contacts with Indiana to confer specific personal jurisdiction over the defendants.
The court considered the question of whether the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana could properly exercise specific personal jurisdiction over the defendants, consistent with Due Process, where the defendants allegedly could foresee the harm from their commercial torts and alleged infringement of the plaintiff’s trademark would be felt by the plaintiff in Indiana, where the plaintiff was headquartered. The Seventh Circuit reversed the District Court and held that these facts, alone, were insufficient to confer personal jurisdiction over the defendants in Indiana.
The Advanced Tactical court recognized its prior decisions suggesting that a defendant’s actions outside the forum state, which harm the plaintiff located in the forum state, create sufficient minimum contacts to exercise specific personal jurisdiction over the defendant in the forum state. Id. (citing Janmark, Inc. v. Reidy, 132 F.3d 1200, 1202 (7th Cir. 1997) (holding “there can be no serious doubt . . . that the state in which the victim of a tort suffers the injury may entertain a suit against the accused tortfeasor”); Indianapolis Colts, Inc. v. Metro. Balt. Football Club Ltd. P’ship, 34 F.3d 410, 411-12 (7th Cir. 1994) (holding “[s]ince there can be no tort without an injury, the state in which the injury occurs is the state in which the tort occurs, and someone who commits a tort in Indiana should, one might suppose, be amenable to suit there”) (internal citation omitted).
In this case, the court distanced its decision from the Indianapolis Colts and Janmark decisions, holding since the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Walden v. Fiore, - U.S. -, 134 S. Ct. 1115 (2014) “there can be no doubt that ‘the plaintiff cannot be the only link between the defendant and the forum’ . . . [a]ny decision that implies otherwise can no longer be considered authoritative.”