Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall

United States Supreme Court

466 U.S. 408 (1984)

Even if a foreign defendant's contacts with a forum state are unrelated to the cause of action, the forum state may nevertheless exercise general jurisdiction over that defendant if the foreign defendant's contacts with the state are continuous and systematic.

Relevant Facts

Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A., a Colombian corporation (the defendant), is in the business of providing helicopter transportation for oil and construction companies throughout South America. The defendant contracted with Consorcio, a Peruvian joint venture founded by Texans, to assist in the construction of a pipeline. Negotiations occurred in Texas, and the result was a contract that included a provision that required all lawsuits arising out of the transaction to be tried in Peruvian courts. Additionally, the defendant purchased around 80% of its helicopter fleet from another company named Bell Helicopter, based in Texas. The defendant paid $4 million to Bell for the equipment. Additionally, the defendant sent potential pilots to receive flight training from Bell Helicopter. In January 1976, a helicopter owned by the defendant crashed and killed four United States citizens. Hall and representatives of the four decedents (the plaintiffs) brought a wrongful death suit in a district court in Texas. The defendant made a special appearance to argue a lack of personal jurisdiction.

The Texas Supreme Court ruled that Texas had personal jurisdiction. Subsequently, the defendant petitioned for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, and the case was granted review.

Issue

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Holding & Reasoning

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Concurrence

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Dissent

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Last updated:

December 20, 2020

Judicial Opinion

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Procedural History

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Citations

466 U.S. 408 (1984)