BNSF Ry. Co. v. Superior CourtAnnotate this Case
Plaintiffs alleged that decedent died from malignant pleural mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos at BNSF’s Wichita dismantling facility and roundhouse, where decedent worked. BNSF moved to quash service of the summons for lack of personal jurisdiction because conduct alleged against it did not arise from its in-state activities; it is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Texas. California houses approximately 8.1 percent of BNSF’s total workforce (3,520 employees), accounts for approximately six percent of its revenue, and contains less than five percent of its total track mileage (1,149 miles). Plaintiffs asserted that BNSF had minimum contacts that were sufficiently “substantial . . . continuous and systematic” to warrant the exercise of general jurisdiction. The trial court denied the motion to quash, citing BNSF’s “systematic and continuous business in California,” its status as an American company, and its role as a “perpetrator” of the alleged wrongdoing. The court of appeal found that general jurisdiction was lacking. BNSF’s relationship with the state is not enough to render it “at home” in California such that the exercise of general jurisdiction over actions unrelated to its forum activities is warranted.