Written by attorney Keith R Havens

Obtaining Jurisdiction over an Out of State Defendant in a Civil Conspiracy

You have been wronged by two (2) persons or entities acting in collusion. One person or entity is within the jurisdiction of the Courts of Maryland and the other is outside the jurisdiction. How can you obtain jurisdition over the second?

"It is clear today that physical presence within a state is not a necessary prerequisite to the proper assertion of personal jurisdiction and the under most states' long-arm statutes, certain acts and effects of those acts may be the basis for a court to exercise jurisdiction of a nonresident as well as a person who has not physically entered within the territorial borders of the state." Mackey v. Compass Mktg., Inc., 391 Md. 117 (2005). Maryland recognizes the conspiracy theory of jurisdiction. Id. In Mackey, the Court of Appeals of Maryland first recognized the conspiracy theory of jurisdiction. In so doing, the Court of Appeals recognized the doctrine as set forth in Cawley v. Bloch, 544 F. Supp. 133 (D. Md. 1982). In Cawley, the Court set forth the elements of the doctrine as: (1) two or more individuals conspire to do something; (2) that they could reasonably expect to lead to consequences in a particular forum; if (3) one co-conspirator commits overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy, and (4) those acts are of a type which, if committed by a non-resident, would subject the non-resident to personal jurisdiction under the long-arm statute of the forum state, then those overt acts are attributable to the other co-conspirators, who thus become subject to personal jurisdiction in the forum, even if they have no direct contacts with the forum. Cawley, 544 F. Supp. at 135. If you can meet the elements set forth in Crawley, you will be able to establish juridiction over both defendants and not merely the defendant within the jurisdiction of Maryland Courts.

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