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High-Tech Law & Litigation Blog

  • 15
  • February
  • 2018


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Tesla's Lawsuit Challenging Michigan Law Banning Direct Car Sales Raises Novel First Amendment Issues

A lawsuit filed by innovative technology and automotive company Tesla Motors, which challenges Michigan’s ban on direct car sales to consumers, raises the conflict between the need for discovery into matters of intent and First Amendment rights of association related to lobbying activity. The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will soon have to resolve this conflict in Tesla Motors, Inc. v. Johnson, No. 18-1010. In that case, Tesla seeks information about the communications of a trade association that lobbied in favor of legislation that Tesla has challenged as unconstitutional. This new conflict follows a habitual cycle: Technology companies push boundaries, governments seek to regulate their activities, and the companies become more involved in lobbying regulators and legislatures. The question of whether communications related to those efforts may be discovered by other parties in civil litigation is therefore likely to recur, and the Sixth Circuit’s resolution of the issue will merit close attention.

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  • 18
  • July
  • 2017


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After Bristol-Myers Squibb, What’s the Prescription for Personal Jurisdiction in Online Defamation Cases?

For companies suffering from symptoms commonly associated with being forced to defend themselves in remote and inhospitable locales, the recently-concluded U.S. Supreme Court term brought some much-needed relief. In addition to its blockbuster patent-venue ruling in TC Heartland, the Court issued a major decision limiting nonresident plaintiffs’ ability to invoke loose specific jurisdiction standards to force out-of-state defendants to litigate claims that have no substantial connection to the forum. See Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of Cal., No. 16-466, 2017 WL 215687 (U.S. June 19, 2017). In doing so, the Court rejected plaintiffs’ reliance on a company’s general business and promotional contacts with the forum state when those contacts are insufficiently related to the claims asserted.

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Jason A. Levine

Jason A. Levine Partner

Jennifer C. Chen

Jennifer C. Chen Partner

Devika Kornbacher

Devika Kornbacher Partner

Marc A. Fuller

Marc A. Fuller Counsel

Thomas W. Bohnett

Thomas W. Bohnett Senior Associate

Megan Coker

Megan Coker Senior Associate

Trey Hebert

Trey Hebert Associate

Howard Lithaw Lim Associate

Elizabeth Krabill McIntyre

Elizabeth Krabill McIntyre Senior Associate

David C. Smith

David C. Smith Counsel

Margaret D. Terwey

Margaret Dunlay Terwey Senior Associate

Ryan B. Will

Ryan Will Associate

Siho (Scott) Yoo

Siho (Scott) Yoo Senior Associate