Cases & Deals

Citizen of Florida Hank Asher obtains reversal of adverse personal jurisdiction ruling in Michigan Court of Appeals

Clients Asher, Henry E.

On September 15, 2011, the Michigan Court of Appeals dismissed a case against Jones Day client Hank Asher for lack of personal jurisdiction, reversing a contrary ruling by the Berrien County Trial Court.

Asher, a resident and citizen of Florida, was sued by a Michigan resident in Michigan state court. Unable to establish a connection between Mr. Asher and the State of Michigan, the plaintiff accused Mr. Asher of conspiring to commit a tort in the state. Mr. Asher moved for summary disposition on the ground that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over him. As part of that motion, he submitted an affidavit contradicting the conspiracy allegations. Although the plaintiff was able to offer no rebuttal evidence to contradict Mr. Asher's sworn testimony, based on plaintiff's allegations alone, the trial court ruled that Michigan courts had limited personal jurisdiction over Mr. Asher under Michigan's long arm statute.

Jones Day successfully petitioned for interlocutory review of the decision in the Michigan Appellate Court. After reviewing the record, the appellate court reversed the trial court and ordered the case dismissed. The Court held that plaintiff had not adequately pleaded a prima facie case that Mr. Asher had committed any tort in Michigan (including conspiracy), nor had he adequately pleaded personal jurisdiction over Mr. Asher under Michigan's long arm statute.

Yoost v. Caspari, --- N.W.2d --- (Mich. Ct. App. 2011)