As courts decide cases involving the Internet and new kinds of issues not addressed previously, what role, if any, does precedent play? What role should it play? What difficulties could arise?
A court would first look to see if any applicable statutes apply to the situation. Beyond that, the court would consider whether or not there are any earlier relevant court decisions applicable to the case. The court might find a similar case, though one not involving the Internet, and extend its application to the Internet. Through this process, existing law can be extended to apply to new situations. Difficulties can arise if courts extend the application of an existing law to a new area where there are crucial differences that make the application of the old law improper.
The Jurisdiction of the Court%
Steve often purchases office supplies from Supplymax. a company with stores in many states, but none in Steve home state of Missouri. Supplymax does, however, maintain a distribution center in Kansas City. Missouri. Supplymax does not advertise in Missouri except that it places a few advertisements in national magazines. Some of which are sold in Missouri. Steve has an agreement with their store in Chicago. and Steve will often contact the Chicago store and have them hold items for him to pick up when he is on one of his frequent business trips to Chicago. Last year. Steve purchased eight chairs from Supplymax to use with his Conference table at his business. At a recent meeting with his local sales staff. One of the chairs collapsed injuring Steve. Steve has sued Supplyimax in state court in his hometown of St Louis. Supplymax does not want to have this case heard in Si. Louis. Or anywhere in Missouri for that matter. But if it must be in Missouri. Supplymax demands that the case be heard in Kansas City. Discuss the issues and likely outcome of his situation.
Supplymax probably meets the minimum contacts requirement with the state of Missouri. Given its distribution center and advertising in national publication that reaches Missouri. Thus Missouri would have personal jurisdiction. Because the lawsuit arises out of events in St. Louis and there are witnesses from St. Louis. Proper venue would be in St. Louis. If the amount in controversy were more than $75,000, Supplymax could transfer the case to federal court.
Courtney from Study Moose
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