GATOR.COM CORP. V. L.L. BEAN, INC.
341 F.3d 1072 (9th Cir. 2003)
(1) Facts: March 2001, L.L. Bean’s corporate counsel mailed Gator a cease and desist letter requesting that Gator stop its pop-up windows from appearing when customers visited their website. Gator refused to change its practices, and instead filed a lawsuit in federal district court in California seeking a declaratory judgment. L.L. Bean filed a motion to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction. In November 2001, the federal district judge granted L.L. Bean’s motion finding that California did not have personal jurisdiction over L.L. Bean. Gator then appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
(2) Legal Issue: Should California have general jurisdiction in order to grant Gator a declaratory judgment against L.L. Bean? Did L.L. Bean have a “consistent and substantial pattern of business relations”, in the state of California, in order to facilitate general jurisdiction?
(3) Decision: The decision of the District Court was reversed by the Ninth Circuit Court, and the case was remanded for further proceedings.
(4) Rationale: The Ninth Circuit Court had decided that there is general jurisdiction in light of L.L. Bean’s extensive marketing and sales in California. L.L. Bean also had extensive contacts with California vendors. It was also noted that L.L. Bean targeted its electronic advertising at California and maintained a highly interactive website from which a large number of California consumers made purchases and interacted with L.L. Bean representatives. A finding of general jurisdiction in this case was consistent with the “sliding scale” test that has been applied to other similar cases. With the rise of e-commerce, and the flexibility and opportunity it affords businesses to market and sell in states it has no physical presence, we must adopt more diverse concepts of jurisdiction.
1. The central legal issue that was to be decided...