KEETON v. HUSTLER MAGAZINE, INC.

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
82-485
Petitioner 
Keeton
Respondent 
Hustler Magazine, Inc.
Advocates
(By invitation of the Court, argued the cause as amicus curiae in support of the judgment below)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Kathy Keeton (Keeton) sued Hustler Magazine, Inc. (Hustler) and several other defendants for libel in the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire. Keeton alleged that the district court had jurisdiction based on diversity of citizenship since she was a resident of New York and Hustler was an Ohio corporation with its principal place of business in California. Hustler sold 10 to 15 thousand copies of its magazine in New Hampshire each month but Keeton's only connection to New Hampshire was the circulation there of copies of a magazine that she assisted in producing. She chose to sue in New Hampshire because it was the only state in which the statute of limitation for libel six years, the longest in the United States had not run. The district court dismissed the suit on the ground that the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment forbade the application of New Hampshire's long-arm statute in order to acquire personal jurisdiction over Hustler. The First Circuit affirmed, finding that Keeton's contacts with New Hampshire were too attenuated for an assertion of personal jurisdiction over Hustler. The Court of Appeals also found the application of the "single publication rule," which would require the court to award Keeton damages caused in all states should she prevail, unfair since most of Keeton's alleged injuries occurred outside of New Hampshire.

Question 

Was Hustler's circulation of magazines within the forum state of New Hampshire alone sufficient, without regard to the depth of plaintiff's contacts or the amount of plaintiff's damages caused in New Hampshire, to support an assertion of personal jurisdiction in a libel action based upon the contents of the magazine?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Keeton, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Due Process

Yes. Hustler's regular circulation of magazines in New Hampshire is sufficient to support an assertion of personal jurisdiction in a libel action based on the contents of the magazine. In analyzing whether there are sufficient minimum contacts to permit personal jurisdiction under the Fourteenth Amendment, a court should focus on the relationship among the defendant, the forum, and the litigation. Hustler has continuously and deliberately exploited the New Hampshire market and therefore it must reasonably anticipate being hauled into court there. Keeton did not need to have minimum contacts with the forum state in order for that state to have asserted personal jurisdiction over Hustler. New Hampshire had a sufficient interest in adjudicating the dispute. Moreover, even though most of the harm done to Keeton occurred outside New Hampshire, the same would be true in most libel cases brought anywhere other than plaintiff's state of domicile.

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KEETON v. HUSTLER MAGAZINE, INC.. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 23 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1983/1983_82_485>.
KEETON v. HUSTLER MAGAZINE, INC., The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1983/1983_82_485 (last visited October 23, 2014).
"KEETON v. HUSTLER MAGAZINE, INC.," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 23, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1983/1983_82_485.