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Business Ethics of The National Enquirer, Inc: Jurisdiction of Shirley Jones lawsuit

Business Ethics: The National Enquirer, Inc., is a Florida corporation with its principal place of business in Florida. It publishes the National Enquirer, a national weekly newspaper with a total circulation of more than 5 million copies. About 600,000 copies, almost twice the level in the next highest state, are sold in California. The National Enquirer published an article about Shirley Jones, an entertainer. Jones, a California resident, filed a lawsuit in California state court against the National Enquirer and its president, who was a resident of Florida. The California lawsuit sought damages for alleged defamation, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783, 104 S.Ct. 1482, 79 L.Ed.2d 804, Web 1984 U.S. Lexis 4 (Supreme Court of the United States)

1. What kind of paper is the National Enquirer?

2. Was it ethical for the National Enquirer to try to avoid suit in California? In answering this question, be sure to provide a reasoned discussion of the ethics involved in attempting to avoid jurisdiction in California.

3. Are the defendants subject to suit in California? Why or why not? When answerng this question be sure to discuss the applicability of the long arm statute to National Enquirer and its president.

Include references.

Solution Preview

I read the Calder case on Westlaw and based my answers on case law. Cites are given where needed.

1. The National Enquirer is an American supermarket tabloid and is known for focusing on celebrity gossip with its biggest circulation in California.

2. Petitioners (The Enquirer) both residents of Florida, were served with process by mail in Florida, and moved to quash the service of process for lack of personal jurisdiction.

Although erroneous, it was ethical for The Enquirer to try and avoid suit in California. When looked at simply, it makes sense for a business to believe that their home state is the state that has personal jurisdiction over the business. Unless Calder was an attorney, he would have no reason to know that there was a long-arm statute that could be used so California could assert jurisdiction ...

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