Griffin v. Ste. Michelle Wine Estates LTD.Annotate this Case
The issue presented for review by the Idaho Supreme Court stemmed from an “unfortunate kitchen accident.” Mary Clare Griffin purchased a bottle of Italian wine, which broke in her hands as she attempted to open it, causing substantial injuries. Griffin and her son, a minor who witnessed the event, brought a product liability suit against Zignago Vetro S.P.A., the Italian manufacturer of the wine bottle; Marchesi Antinori SRL (Antinori), the Italian wine company that purchased the bottle from Zignago, filled it with wine, and exported it to the United States; Chateau Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Ltd. (Ste. Michelle), the United States importer; S & C Importers and Distributors, Inc. (S&C), the Idaho distributor who purchased the bottle from Ste. Michelle; and, Albertson’s LLC (Albertson’s), the retailer that sold the bottle to Griffin. Zignago successfully moved the district court to dismiss Griffin’s complaint based on a lack of personal jurisdiction. Griffin appealed the district court’s decision, asking the Supreme Court to apply the personal jurisdiction framework established by the United States Supreme Court in World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286 (1980). Zignago claimed the district court did not err by applying the stricter test that the United States Supreme Court offered in Asahi Metal Indus. Co. v. Superior Court of California, Solano Cnty., 480 U.S. 102 (1987) (plurality). Griffin also appealed several adverse discovery rulings. The Supreme Court held that the correct test when determining personal jurisdictional issues remains the “stream of commerce” test adopted by the United States Supreme Court in World-Wide Volkswagen. Applying that test to the case here, the Court reversed the district court’s decision to grant Zignago’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and remand the case for further proceedings. Furthermore, the Court affirmed the district court’s decision granting Antinori’s and Ste. Michelle’s motions for summary judgment and hold that it did not abuse its discretion in failing to grant Griffin’s motion to compel discovery against Antinori and Ste. Michelle.