minimum contacts

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In International Shoe Co. v. Washington (1945), the Supreme Court formally adopted the minimum contacts/fair play and substantial justice test for determining whether there was proper personal jurisdiction over the defendant. The state of Washington sued International Shoe Co., a foreign corporation, to recover taxes on commissions that were paid to the corporation’s Washington-based salesmen. International Shoe did not have an office in Washington, and all orders that were transmitted by its Washington salesmen were filled outside of Washington. The Supreme Court upheld the jurisdiction of the Washington court. The activities that were conducted on behalf of International Shoe were systematic, continuous, and resulted in interstate business where the company received the benefits and protections of Washington’s laws, including the right to sue in Washington courts. Because the company had these benefits and protections, there also arose from those same activities obligations. “Due process requires only that in order to subject a defendant to a judgment in personam, if he be not present within the territory of the forum, he have certain minimum contacts with it such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend ‘traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.’”