If someone lives in Duluth and you want to sue them in Washington County, that is pretty easy to sort out. But what if the party you want to sue is not located in Minnesota? Do Minnesota states courts have personal jurisdiction over the non-Minnesotan? There's a test for that.
As an initial matter, the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution grants all Americans procedural due rights. In short, you cannot be forced to appear and succumb to the authority of a court if you are not a resident within that court's jurisdiction. As the preeminent law of the land, this Constitutional amendment applies to cases in Minnesota. Clean and simple...if you do not have any contacts with the court in question.
It gets murkier though when the other party has some contact with Minnesota, but is not present in Minnesota full-time. That's where the test comes into play. Minnesota law states courts “may exercise personal jurisdiction over” an out-of-state defendant “in the same manner as if the defendant were
a resident” of the state, so long as one of four prerequisites is satisfied. Minnesota courts typically apply federal constitutional caselaw to determine whether personal jurisdiction exists, which helps simplify the analysis a bit.
Federal caselaw affirms a state court may exercise personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant if the party who has “minimum contacts” with the forum state so that the exercise of personal jurisdiction does not offend “traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.” Such was the standard when I was in law school and it remains so today. To satisfy the requirement of minimum contacts, the out-of-state
party must have “purposefully availed” itself of the privilege of conducting activities within the forum state such that it “should reasonably anticipate being haled into court there.”
In other words, you intentionally benefit from Minnesota's laws, resources, economy, and the like, then you also answer to its courts. This test may be helpful when assessing your litigation options. For further understanding of its applicability, let's talk about your specifics and I will help you understand your options.