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7 Review of Litigation 239 (1987-88)


This article evaluates the stream of commerce theory of personaljurisdiction in light of existing precedent and the constitutionalimperative of due process. Part II briefly describes the factualbackground of Asahi and the various opinions rendered in the case.Part m outlines the development of jurisdictional doctrine since International Shoe, emphasizing the meaning of "purposeful availment" and its fluid role in the due process equation governing statecourt jurisdiction. Part IV then traces the evolution of the stream of commerce theory since International Shoe. Part V examines and rejects criticisms of the stream of commerce theory, and concludes that under any reasonabre interpretation of the due process parameters on jurisdiction, the stream of commerce theory as it is ordinarily used - as a justification for specific jurisdiction - ought to survive constitutional scrutiny. Therefore, any defendant who knows or should know that a product he markets will be used and may cause injury in a foreign jurisdiction should be amenable, as a constitutional matter, to suit there in a cause of action related to the product. To the extent that the plaintiffs chosen forum is truly aninconvenient one, the doctrine of forum non conveniens is availableto relieve the defendant of any onerous litigation burdens.