Friday, December 27, 2013

Revell v. Lidov case brief

Revell v. Lidov case brief summary
317 F.3d 467 (5th Cir. 2002)

Plaintiff former Associate Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (former FBI Director) appealed from an order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas dismissing for lack of personal jurisdiction the former FBI Director's claim for defamation against defendants, a university and an author, arising out of the author's posting of an article on an internet bulletin board hosted by the university.

The former FBI Director, a resident of Texas, sued the university, which had its principal offices in New York City, and the author, a Massachusetts resident, in the Northern District of Texas. The former FBI director claimed damage to his professional reputation in Texas and emotional distress arising out of the alleged defamation. After the district court granted defendants' motions to dismiss, the former FBI director argued that the district court could assert general jurisdiction over the university because its website provided internet users, inter alia, the opportunity to purchase advertising and to submit electronic applications for admission.

  • The court of appeals agreed with the district court that the cited contacts of the university with Texas were not in any way "substantial" where the article written by the author about the former FBI 
  • Director contained no reference to Texas, nor did it refer to the Texas activities of the former FBI Director, and it was not directed at Texas readers as distinguished from readers in other states. 
  • Accordingly, the former FBI director had failed to make out a prima facie case of personal jurisdiction over either defendant.
The district court's order dismissing the former FBI Director's defamation claims for lack of personal jurisdiction was affirmed.

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