A New Mexico federal district court recently dismissed a personal injury lawsuit against a foreign car maker for lack of personal jurisdiction. The underlying case arose after an accident allegedly causing catastrophic physical injuries. A woman was driving a car in New Mexico when she was struck by another vehicle causing the vehicle she was in to roll.
A lawsuit was brought on her behalf and on behalf of her husband against the maker of the car the injured woman was driving in the First Judicial District Court of the State of New Mexico, County of Santa Fe. The plaintiffs sought an award of punitive damages based on causes of action including strict products liability, negligence, breach of an implied warranty, and loss of consortium. The defendant car maker filed a notice of removal, pursuant to which the case was removed from state court to the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico.
Initially the defendant sought dismissal based on allegedly improper service of process and lack of personal jurisdiction. The defendant then withdrew its argument for dismissal based on improper service, resulting in the question of whether there was personal jurisdiction over the defendant being the sole issue for adjudication by the court.