Monday, May 5, 2008

Indiana jurisdiction over out-of-state defendants

How do Indiana courts have jurisdiction over people and businesses not residing Indiana courts? After all, Indiana's civil jurisdiction ends at its borders.

Indiana's Trial Rule sets out how to get jurisdiction. Indiana Trial Rule 4.4 (Service upon persons in actions for acts done in this state or having an effect in this state) sets out the categories of actions by defendants which give Indiana court's jurisdiction over those defendants.
What neither the courts nor out-of-state businesses wants is to be brought into an Indiana court for an inadvertent incursion to Indiana. The law gives weight to the amount of contact an out-of-state defendant has with Indiana. Where defendant's the only contacts are by telephone
and without personal appearance in Indiana and it is the Indiana plaintiff initiating contact, Indiana law makes it very difficult to have jurisdiction over the out-of-state defendant. See Dura-Line Corp. v. Sloan, 487 N.E2d 469 (Ind. Ct App. 1986) and Baseball Card World, Inc. v. Pannette, 583 N.E.2d 753 (Ind. Ct App. 1991), trans. denied..

Indiana businesses need to be careful about dealing with out-of-state persons. Consulting with a lawyer about the problems of operating outside of Indiana is far cheaper than trying to collect a debt in another state.