Friday, December 6, 2013

Omni Capital International v. Rudolf Wolff & Co. case brief

Omni Capital International v. Rudolf Wolff & Co. case brief summary
484 U.S. 97 (1987)

Petitioner investors sued respondent corporation, alleging violations of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), 7 U.S.C.S. §§ 6b, 13(b). The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's finding that it lacked personal jurisdiction because the CEA did not authorize service of process and the state's long-arm statute requirement were not met. Petitioners sought review.

Petitioners, corporate and individual investors, sued respondent corporation alleging fraudulent inducement to participate in an investment program, in violation of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), 7 U.S.C.S. §§ 6b and 13(b). Respondent corporation impleaded respondents, a broker and its agent. The district court held that since the CEA did not provide for service of process, personal jurisdiction over respondents could be asserted only under the state long-arm statute; because i concluded that the requirements of the long-arm statute were not met, it dismissed all claims against respondents.


  • The circuit court of appeals affirmed, holding that neither the CEA nor Fed. R. Civ. P. 4 authorized service of process on respondents, and that it lacked personal jurisdiction over them. 
  • The court agreed that the district court lacked personal jurisdiction over respondents without authorization to serve process and that authorization was found in neither the CEA nor the state long-arm statute, which controlled under Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(e); it further declined to create a common-law rule authorizing service of process.

The court affirmed the finding.

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