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Daimler Trucks North America v. Superior Court

This case arose from a single-vehicle crash during a trip in which trucker Yongquan Hu and a co-worker first drove from California to New Jersey and then transported goods from New Jersey to California in a 2016 Freightliner Cascadia truck originally sold by Daimler Trucks. The crash occurred on the return leg of the trip, while a co-worker was driving and Mr. Hu was sleeping in the sleeping compartment of the vehicle. Despite the bunk restraint, the collision caused Mr. Hu to move laterally, striking his head and rendering him quadriplegic. Mr. Hu subsequently sued Daimler Trucks and other defendants in Los Angeles Superior Court. Daimler Trucks moved to dismiss the case, arguing that the court lacked specific personal jurisdiction over it. The court denied the motion; the court of appeal agreed that the trial court had jurisdiction, and the California Supreme Court denied review. Daimler Trucks then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for review, arguing that the “related to” element of specific personal jurisdiction was lacking.

Public Citizen Litigation Group, serving as co-counsel in the Supreme Court, prepared the brief in opposition to the petition. The brief showed that Daimler Trucks’ contention that California courts take an expansive approach to specific jurisdiction was incorrect and that the application of the Supreme Court’s recent decisions to the facts of this case did not warrant review. The Court denied the petition.