If you are an out-of-state party sued in Missouri, one of the first things you should do in deciding how to defend the case is to determine whether to file a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Missouri Supreme Court Rule 55.27(a)(2)
Every defense, in law or fact, to a claim in any pleading, whether a claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, shall be asserted in the responsive pleading thereto if one is required, except that several defenses may at the option of the pleader be made by motion, including "[l]ack of jurisdiction over the person."
Who bears the burden and what may the court consider?
When a defendant raises the issue of personal jurisdiction, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to make a prima facie showing of jurisdiction. Conway v. Royalite Plastics, 12 S.W.3d 314, 318 (Mo. banc 2000). In ruling on a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, the trial court may consider affidavits presented by the parties. Consolidated Elec. & Mechanicals, Inc. v. Schuerman, 185 S.W.3d 773, 776 (Mo. Ct. App. E.D. 2006). The court's inquiry is limited to an examination of the petition on its face and the supporting affidavits and depositions when determining the limited question of personal jurisdiction. Hollinger v. Sifers, 122 S.W.3d 112, 115 (Mo. Ct. App. W.D. 2003). Quite often, the analysis will hinge on long-arm jurisdiction. The due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution further limits the court's power to exercise in personam jurisdiction. Id. Likewise, the Missouri Constitution guarantees the right to due process. Mo. Const. art. I, ? 10. Due process requires that, in order to subject a non-resident defendant to in personam jurisdiction, the defendant have certain minimum contacts with the state so that the maintenance of the suit does "not offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice." International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945); Chromalloy Am. Corp. v. Elyria Foundry Co., 955 S.W.2d 1, 5 (Mo. banc 1997).
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