Attorneys Steve Kirsch and Michael Sawers Win Client's Case in United States District Court, District of Minnesota

Print PDFShare
October 24, 2017

Briggs and Morgan attorneys Steve Kirsch and Michael Sawers, along with co-counsel, recently won an important decision in the United States District Court, District of Minnesota for Briggs client Conwed Corporation in a toxic tort case. The plaintiff, a Kansas citizen, sued Conwed alleging product liability and negligence claims.

Relying on recent and established Supreme Court precedent, the Honorable Susan Richard Nelson denied the plaintiff’s motion to remand the case to state court. The Court also granted Conwed’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.

In deciding the motions, the Court determined that Conwed was not “at home” in Minnesota and, therefore, not subject to general personal jurisdiction. The plaintiffs argued under Minn. Stat. ch. 303, governing foreign corporations, Conwed “consented” to jurisdiction by conducting business in Minnesota. But the Court disagreed. Because Conwed’s certificate of authority to transact business in Minnesota expired in 2009, Conwed was not automatically subject to general jurisdiction under Minn. Stat. § 303.10. Conwed challenged the constitutionality of Min. Stat. § 303.10 but, because Conwed is not subject to the requirements of Chapter 303, the Court did not decide the constitutionality of the statute.

With respect to specific jurisdiction, the Court considered the timing of Conwed’s Minnesota contacts and the nexus with the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries. The Court held that, even though Conwed was headquartered in Minnesota until 1985 and manufactured the at-issue products in Minnesota between 1959 and 1974, the stale contacts did not support personal jurisdiction in Minnesota. Because due process requires analysis of personal jurisdiction contacts at the time the cause of action accrued, at the time the lawsuit is filed, or some time just before filing, Conwed did not have sufficient Minnesota contacts to establish personal jurisdiction.

Click here to see the opinion: McGill v. Conwed Corp., Civil No. 17-01047 (SRN/HB) (D. Minn. Oct. 10, 2017).