Visiting Mexico, and Civil Procedure: part 2 of 4

Welcome to part 2 of this series! To recap, part 1 showed photos of whale and dolphin watching in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Part 1 also discussed a legal scenario in which Dan from California, and Patty from Oregon have an accident in Oregon. Under the circumstances of this scenario, Dan is subject to personal jurisdiction in Oregon only for the purposes of this accident.

In Part 2, let’s look at a scenario where an out-of-state defendant might be subject to broader personal jurisdiction than Dan was subject to in Oregon.

Here is a different example: Let’s say that Donna lives in Texas most of the time, and she has an online business selling office furniture. She markets her products in all 50 states, and she sells furniture regularly in all 50 states. Pete, a resident of Nebraska, claims that a desk he bought from Donna broke after just a few weeks, and he sues her for a refund. Donna visits family members in Nebraska for several days every month, and she also grew up there. In addition to the desk breaking, Pete finds out that Donna has said some defamatory things about him in Texas. Pete decides to also sue Donna in Nebraska for defamation, after finding out about her connections to Nebraska. The Nebraska court will exercise personal jurisdiction over Donna for the broken desk lawsuit, and may also exercise personal jurisdiction over her for the defamation lawsuit. This is because Donna’s contacts with Nebraska are so continuous and systematic, that a court could find that she is subject to personal jurisdiction there generally, rather than just for the broken desk that she sold there. Whether a defendant is closely tied enough to a state to make it fair to subject them to personal jurisdiction there for a given lawsuit, is a matter of discretion for the judge. There is no clear cut rule for this.

Stoppable – T Rex with short arms.

On an additional note, here is the rule on diversity jurisdiction for the purposes of bringing a lawsuit in federal court: If the plaintiffs and the defendants are residents of different states (and no plaintiff is a resident of the same state as any defendant), AND there is at least $75K in dispute in the lawsuit; the case may be heard in federal court. The claim need not be a matter of federal law, if this criteria is met. This scenario is known as “diversity jurisdiction”.

By now, you may be able to foresee a scenario where more than one court could have jurisdiction at the same time. So when this happens, what other considerations might determine where the case will be heard? Stay tuned for part 3, where I will discuss “venue”.

Now, for the travel part of this post, here is the second city we visited in our Mexico trip:

The second stop was Manzanillo, where we visited a turtle and iguana sanctuary, as well as took a walk along a beautiful tropical beach:

Tropical beach in Manzanillo
Black sea turtle in a sanctuary

Manzanillo has a quiet pueblo vibe, and its streets are lined with strikingly colorful houses. This area is also one of the world’s biggest sources of sea salt. This area also has fewer crowds and tourists than, say, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo. If you are looking for a more off-the-beaten-path experience in Mexico where you will be able to meet locals, this smaller city is worth a visit.

In Part 3 of this series, I will talk about our third stop in Mazatlan, Mexico, as well as venue. Stay tuned! And as always, dear readers, thank you for following me.

** Got a legal subject or question you are curious about? Email it to me at Your question may be discussed in a future blog post!

Please note that the above is offered for educational purposes, and as a means of encouraging intellectual curiosity about the law. The information presented may not take into account every exception, variation, or complication which could apply to someone’s legal matters. Accordingly, nothing in this post or blog is ever intended as, nor should be construed by or relied upon by anyone, as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney who can give you assistance specific to your needs.


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