Believing that First Amendment concerns already receive sufficient protection from any "chilling effect," the Supreme Court has held that personal jurisdiction analysis should not contain additional levels of scrutiny in speech-oriented cases. Reasoning that the "actual malice" requirement for public figures enunciated in New York Times, Inc. v. Sullivan was sufficient protection, the Court has been content to analyze personal jurisdiction over nonresident defendants within the established but "imprecise inquiry," even when the defendant's speech or expression may be penalized by a claim for damages.
Enter Internet-based contacts. Courts attempting to impose traditional personal jurisdiction analysis on Internet-related contacts have no guidance from the Supreme Court and continue to reach inconsistent results as they attempt to force territorial-based analysis onto a one-dimensional universe lacking any concept of boundaries, territories, or other physical properties. A "sliding scale" model proposed by a district court in Pennsylvania in 1997 has been cited with approval in most circuits. ...
Section II of this Comment reviews the evolution of traditional personal jurisdiction analysis and then traces the foray into Internet contact analysis. Section III explains the sliding scale model that has received such wide acceptance and reviews various courts' findings upholding or declining jurisdiction based on Internet contacts. Section IV reviews the analysis in Blumenthal v. Drudge, a case that incompletely categorized Web contacts and identifies three critical areas on which courts should focus their analysis. Section V attempts to clarify the ambiguous points on the sliding scale with which courts are struggling. Finally, Section VI applies the clarified scale to Blumenthal to demonstrate that application of the clarified scale would yield available forums while simultaneously affording greater litigation protection for Internet speakers.
Daughdrill, Brian E.
"Personal Jurisdiction and the Internet: Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop on First Amendment Concerns,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 51:
3, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol51/iss3/7