General jurisdiction


Last week the First Circuit affirmed a decision by Judge Laplante in New Hampshire holding that a plaintiff could not obtain general jurisdiction over Maine Medical Center in New Hampshire.  Cossaboon v. MMC,

This decision was basically preordained by a previous First Circuit decision finding no general jurisdiction in Maine over a Massachusetts hospital in Harlow v. Childrens Hosp., 432 F.3d 50 (1st Cir. 2005) and puts the nail in the coffin of Kenerson v. Stevenson, 604 F.Supp. 792 (D. Me. 1985), in which Judge Carter held that a NH hospital was subject to general jurisdiction in Maine. 

While each jurisdictional case is fact-sensitive, there are some general takeways.  General jurisdiction requires some real, substantive contacts.  Even "extensive" advertising isn't enough.  A website must be interactive, and MMC's, which allowed on-line patient and class registration, donations and employment applications wasn't interactive enough, because it didn't target NH residents in particular and the site "does not sell or render services online."   

I think it's safe to say the MMC will not be selling scrub suits on line in the near future.

Congratulations to Gerry Petruccelli, representing MMC.