Calder v. Jones
FACTS: The plaintiff, Shirley Jones, sued the defendants, the National Enquirer, the distributor of the magazine, the writer of a slanderous article, and the editor-in-chief of the magazine Iain Calder. Jones contended that an article written about her that labeled her an alcoholic as libelous, and invasion of privacy, and an intentional infliction of emotional harm. The National Enquirer is based out of Florida but the story and the defendant resides and California, as does a large portion of the Enquirer’s readership (600,000 copies sold a week, nearly twice the level of the next highest state). Calder filed her lawsuit in a California state court based on the large circulation and revenue from Californians. The publisher and distributor did not object to jurisdiction in California. The trial court dismissed the claim on the grounds that it lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendants based on the First Amendment and the effect it would potentially have over free speech. The California Court of Appeal reversed the decision however and the Supreme Court of California upheld the appellate court. Calder and the writer of the article appealed, stating that the writer and editor of a magazine arguing that those who do not have a stake in the distribution or any control over it should not be held liable in that state.
ISSUE: The issue was whether the sale of a magazine article provided enough leverage to enforce personal jurisdiction over the editor and writer of that article in terms of the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
OUTCOME: Unanimous decision and opinion written by Justice Rehnquist that the California courts did have jurisdiction over the defendant.
REASONING: Justice Rehnquist wrote the opinion. The court unanimously held that the California courts did in fact have jurisdiction over the defendant. Justice Rehnquist stated that the defendants claim that they did not have a stake or control over the distribution and that...