An Alabama woman was killed when her 2006 Chrysler 300LX was struck on the driver’s side by a tractor trailer. The representatives of her estate sued the manufacturer, claiming that she could have survived the crash if her car had been reasonably crashworthy, equipped with side curtain airbags and side impact protection, including side/torso airbags. The 300LX had been manufactured by Chrysler Canada.
Chrysler Canada asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming not to be subject to the Alabama federal court’s jurisdiction. Its position was that it had no physical presence in Alabama: no offices, telephone numbers, bank accounts, or employees. Chrysler Canada also denied ever seeking business from potential customers in Alabama, since it did not advertise here.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama considered whether it could try the plaintiffs’ claims under the Alabama Extended Manufacturer’s Liability Doctrine (the “AEMLD”), as well as for negligence, wantonness, and breach of warranty, after Chrysler Canada moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.