Righting the Ship: Implications of J. McIntyre V. Nicastro and How to Navigate the Stream of Commerce in its Wake

A foreign manufacturer attempts to develop a market in the United States and, to that end, hires a U.S. distributor to sell its products across the United States. The manufacturer excludes no region or state from the market it seeks to reach, but, if possible, prefers to avoid personal jurisdiction in the United States. Has the manufacturer escaped an assertion of personal jurisdiction in a state where its product causes injury? The U.S. Supreme Court considered this question in J. McIntyre v. Nicastro and answered yes. While leaving several questions unresolved, this decision has several disconcerting implications for international products-liability litigation. After reviewing the Nicastro decision and analyzing its several troubling aspects, this Note proposes a reasonable-commercial-expectations test, derived from World-Wide Volkswagen and Asahi and adapted for modern international commerce, that lower courts should utilize to navigate the stream of commerce moving forward.