Conflicts Keyed to Currie
Asahi Metal Industry Co., Ltd. v. Superior Court
ProfessorBrittany L. Raposa
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Asahi Metal Industry Col., Ltd. (Plaintiff), a Japanese corporation, manufactured tire valve assemblies in Japan and sold some of them to Cheng Shin, a Taiwanese company that incorporated which into the motorcycles it manufactured. Zurcher was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and a companion was killed. He brought suit against Cheng, claiming the motorcycle tire manufactured by Cheng Shin was defective. Cheng Shin sought indemnity from Asahi (Plaintiff), and the main action settled. Asahi (Plaintiff) moved to quash service of summons, arguing that jurisdiction could not be maintained by California, the state in which Zurcher filed his action, consistent with the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The evidence indicated that Asahi’s (Plaintiff) sales to Cheng Shin took place in Taiwan, and shipments went from Japan to Taiwan. Cheng Shin purchased valve assemblies from other manufacturers. Sales to Cheng Shi never amounted to more than 1.5% of Asahi’s (Plaintiff) income. Approximately 20% of Cheng Shin’s sales in the United States are in California. In declaration, an attorney for Cheng Shin stated he made an informal examination of tires in a bike shop in Solano County, where Zurcher was injured. He found approximately 20% of the tires with Asahi’s (Plaintiff) trademark (25% of the tires manufactured by Cheng Shin). The Superior Court (Defendant) denied the motion to quash, finding it reasonable that Asahi (Plaintiff) defend its claim of defect in their product. The court of appeals issued a peremptory writ commanding the Superior Court (Defendant) to quash service of summons. The state supreme court reversed and discharged the writ, finding that Plaintiff’s awareness that some of its product would reach California by placing it in the stream of commerce satisfied minimum contacts sufficient to sustain jurisdiction. Plaintiff appealed this decision.
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