CALIFORNIA COURTS HAVE JURISDICTION OVER CONDUCT OCCURRING WITHIN THE STATE
The California Court of Appeals has recently re-affirmed that California courts have proper jurisdiction over actions that occur within the state, regardless of whether the defendants are residents of California.
In the matter known as Doe v. Damron, the plaintiff and defendant were residents of the state of Georgia, and had been married there. (See Case No. 19CV001762, Napa County Superior Court). On several occasions, they traveled to Riverside, California, and while here, defendant is alleged to have committed multiple acts of sexual assault and domestic violence against Plaintiff. When Plaintiff Doe filed suit against Damron for these offenses in California Superior Court, Damron moved to quash service of process, on the basis that it was unfair for California to exercise jurisdiction over him because he didn’t have enough connections to this State and litigating the suit here would be too burdensome for him. The trial court agreed and granted his motion.
On appeal, the Court found several prior case holdings on point, and determined that visitors to this state should “reasonably expect that, if they assault someone on their travels, they may have to answer for their conduct in this State’s courts”, just as the subject defendant was criminally prosecuted here for the same conduct. (See 2021 DJDAR 11025).
There were multiple factors considered by the Court of Appeals in its analysis, and anyone finding themselves in a similar situation as the plaintiff in this case should ensure they are consulting with an experienced and well-qualified attorney who can fully analyze the facts in that situation.