NC Supreme Court Favors NCAJ In Foreign Manufacuturer Case

July 12, 2023

Miller v. LG Chem, Ltd.

Opinion FiledJune 16, 2023
Attorney for the CaseSarah Willingham
Amicus Brief WritersAndrew Schwaba Noah Abrams Stacy Miller
CourtNC Supreme Court
Docket No.69A22

Plaintiff filed suit related to injuries sustained when a battery exploded in his pocket. The trial court dismissed the case against foreign manufacturer defendants based on a lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court entered this order without ruling on plaintiff’s motion to compel jurisdictional discovery. In a divided decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed. On appeal to the Supreme Court of North Carolina, NCAJ filed an amicus brief arguing that the Court of Appeals’ decision effectively immunized foreign manufacturers from liability even when they specifically target the North Carolina market, and therefore prejudiced both North Carolinians injured by foreign products and North Carolina companies involved in the supply chain of said products. NCAJ also argued that the Court of Appeals erred in failing to reverse the trial court for failure to allow jurisdictional discovery.

In a unanimous per curiam opinion, the Supreme Court agreed with NCAJ’s amicus brief and reversed the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court’s opinion holds that without jurisdictional discovery, it is impossible for the Supreme Court to assess whether the trial court properly applied the standards for personal jurisdiction set forth by the Supreme Court of the United States in Ford Motor Co.