On February 3, 2010, the United States District Court for the District of Arizona dismissed a defamation complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction where the defendant published on a website an allegedly defamatory article about the plaintiffs, who reside in Arizona. Xcentric Ventures LLC v. Bird, ___ F. Supp. 2d ___, 2010 WL 447759 (D. Ariz. Feb. 3, 2010). Even though the defendants intentionally published the article and it could perhaps be proven that defendants were aware that the plaintiffs resided in Arizona, the Arizona court was unable to exercise specific personal jurisdiction over the defendant because the allegedly defamatory act was not “expressly aimed” at the state of Arizona.
filed the suit in
Plaintiffs contended that
the publication of the article on the internet subjects the defendants to
personal jurisdiction in
To meet the “effects test” for person jurisdiction, the Ninth Circuit has held that a defendant must have “(1) committed an intentional act, which was (2) expressly aimed at the forum state, and (3) caused harm, the brunt of which is suffered and which the defendant knows is likely to be suffered in the forum state.” Bancroft & Masters, Inc. v. Augusta Nat. Inc., 223 F.3d 1082, 1087 (9th Cir. 2000) (emphasis added). In Bancroft, the Court appears to suggest a rule that “whenever a person intends to defame an individual on the internet (i.e., intentionally targets that individual), and at the same time knows where that individual resides (i.e., the individual is a ‘known forum resident’), the person is subject to personal jurisdiction in the forum where the defamed individual resides.” Xcentric at *4.
Thus, the Court in Xcentric held that plaintiffs must show a connection between the allegedly defamatory article and the
forum other than the fact that the article was about plaintiffs and defendants
knew plaintiffs resided in
The Court does not explicitly state what is required to amount to “express aiming” at the forum state. In fact, the Court admits that what is required to meet this criterion is unclear. However, the Court clearly states that the “express aiming” requirement demands a showing of “something more” - that there is at least some additional connection between the defamatory act and the forum outside of defendant’s mere knowledge that plaintiff resides there.