Long-Arm Statute Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Long-Arm Statute, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Long-Arm Statute?

(n) Long-Arm Statute is the legal provision granting authority to a state or local court, on a person or entity not a resident in the jurisdiction of such court, to try them for a crime or default in which they are involved.

History and Meaning of Long-Arm Statute

Long-Arm Statute is a legal provision that originated in the United States in the mid-twentieth century. States enacted laws that conferred jurisdiction on their courts over non-resident individuals and companies because it was increasingly difficult to hold them accountable based on traditional notions of personal jurisdiction. A Long-Arm Statute allows a court to exercise jurisdiction over a party who has minimum contacts with the forum state, which means that the party should have reasonably anticipated being sued in that state.

A Long-Arm Statute ensures that a person or entity that causes harm to others within the state or has any involvement in an incident in the state can be sued in local courts, even if they do not live in that state or have any permanent establishment or physical presence in the state. This provision ensures justice and accountability for residents of the state while also allowing the courts to exercise jurisdiction over non-residents with significant contacts in the state and providing an efficient mechanism to resolve disputes where multiple states are involved.

Examples of Long-Arm Statute

  1. A California based High-Tech firm manufactures a product in Louisiana that causes harm to consumers, and the Louisiana state court uses Long-Arm Statute to hold the California company accountable for damages in Louisiana courts.

  2. A non-resident individual who was involved in a car accident in Florida but resides in Texas can be sued in Florida courts under the Long-Arm Statute.

  3. An Australian company does business in the US and breaches its contract with a buyer in New York. The buyer can file a lawsuit against the company in the New York court using the Long-Arm Statute, even though the company is not based in New York.

Legal Terms Similar to Long-Arm Statute

  1. Personal Jurisdiction - Refers to the court’s authority over a person who is a party to a lawsuit.

  2. Minimum Contacts - Refers to the extent of a defendant’s contacts with a forum state that permit a court to exercise jurisdiction over them.

  3. Forum Non Conveniens - A legal doctrine used when a court concludes that it is not a suitable venue for a trial, and the case should proceed in another court that is more convenient for the parties.