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Web Sites and Texas Court Jurisdiction

Feb 11, 2015

If my company is not incorporated in Texas and does no business in Texas, will its merely having a web site nevertheless subject it to the jurisdiction of a Texas court?

Generally, a company that is neither incorporated in Texas nor does business in Texas, will not be subject to a Texas court’s jurisdiction just because of its web site. See Monkton Ins. Servs. v. Ritter, 768 F.3d 429, 432 (5th Cir. 2014).  The Supreme Court recently held that the proper test for general jurisdiction is whether the defendant’s affiliations with a state are so continuous and systematic as to render it “at home” in the state.  Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746, 760 (2014).  For corporations, it is therefore “incredibly difficult to establish general jurisdiction in a forum other than the place of incorporation or principal place of business.”  Monkton Ins. Servs., 768 F.3d at 432.

Generally, a foreign corporation’s website, at most, shows that the corporation conducts business with the forum state, not in the forum state.  Id.   An interactive website is not enough to render a defendant “at home” and general jurisdiction is therefore improper. Id.  Even evidence that the foreign corporation communicated with other residents of the forum state through its website would not be enough for general jurisdiction.  Monkton Ins. Servs., 768 F.3d at 434.

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