Yanmar Co. Ltd. v. SlaterAnnotate this Case
Rudolph Slater was killed while operating a Yanmar tractor he purchased from Chris Elder Enterprises. The tractor had been manfactured by Yanmar Japan and later sold to Chris Elder Enterprises. Slater's wife, Wanda, filed a wrongful-death action against, among others, Yanmar Japan and Yanmar America, alleging claims for, inter alia, fraud, strict liability, breach of implied and express warranties, and negligence. The circuit court entered judgment in favor of Wanda, awarding her damages in the amount of $2.5 million. The Yanmar defendants appealed. The Supreme Court reversed and dismissed the case, holding (1) the circuit court lacked personal jurisdiction over Yanmar Japan, as there was no evidence to establish that Yanmar Japan had the requisite minimum contacts with the forum to warrant the exercise of general jurisdiction, and there was insufficient proof to show that personal jurisdiction could be predicated on the relationship between Yanmar Japan and its subsidiary, Yanmar America; and (2) the jury's finding that Yanmar America was negligent was not supported by substantial evidence, as Yanmar America owed no duty of care to Rudolph.