ABSTRACT

In any toxic tort claim, the court must have a proper jurisdictional basis for exercising judicial power over the parties. Jurisdictional disputes most commonly arise over whether the court of one state can require a defendant to defend a toxic tort claim brought in that state. For example, if a truck owned by a New Mexico hauler of toxic wastes were to overturn on an Arizona road, contaminating the farmland of an Arizona resident, the Arizona plaintiff might bring suit in nuisance or trespass against the owners of the hauler. If the suit were filed in an Arizona court, it would create the question of whether the defendant, a New Mexico resident, should be required to appear before an Arizona court to defend the claim. Similar jurisdictional questions might arise in a suit brought against a California manufacturer of residential paneling who is sued in Michigan by a Michigan purchaser claiming injurious exposure to formaldehyde vapors.