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PERKINS v. BENGUET CONSOLIDATED MINING CO. ET AL.

decided: March 3, 1952.

PERKINS
v.
BENGUET CONSOLIDATED MINING CO. ET AL.



CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF OHIO.

Vinson, Black, Reed, Frankfurter, Douglas, Jackson, Burton, Clark, Minton

Author: Burton

[ 342 U.S. Page 438]

 MR. JUSTICE BURTON delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case calls for an answer to the question whether the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States precludes Ohio from subjecting a foreign corporation to the jurisdiction of its courts in this action in personam. The corporation has been carrying on in Ohio a continuous and systematic, but limited, part of its general business. Its president, while engaged in doing such business in Ohio, has been served with summons in this proceeding. The cause of action sued upon did not arise in Ohio and does not relate to the corporation's activities there. For the reasons hereafter stated, we hold that the Fourteenth Amendment leaves Ohio free to take or decline jurisdiction over the corporation.

After extended litigation elsewhere*fn1 petitioner, Idonah Slade Perkins, a nonresident of Ohio, filed two actions in personam in the Court of Common Pleas of Clermont

[ 342 U.S. Page 439]

     County, Ohio, against the several respondents. Among those sued is the Benguet Consolidated Mining Company, here called the mining company. It is styled a "sociedad anonima" under the laws of the Philippine Islands, where it owns and has operated profitable gold and silver mines. In one action petitioner seeks approximately $68,400 in dividends claimed to be due her as a stockholder. In the other she claims $2,500,000 damages largely because of the company's failure to issue to her certificates for 120,000 shares of its stock.

In each case the trial court sustained a motion to quash the service of summons on the mining company. 99 N. E. 2d 515. The Court of Appeals of Ohio affirmed that decision, 88 Ohio App. 118, 95 N. E. 2d 5, as did the Supreme Court of Ohio, 155 Ohio St. 116, 98 N. E. 2d 33. The cases were consolidated and we granted certiorari in order to pass upon the conclusion voiced within the court below that federal due process required the result there reached. 342 U.S. 808.

We start with the holding of the Supreme Court of Ohio, not contested here, that, under Ohio law, the mining company is to be treated as a foreign corporation.*fn2 Actual notice of the proceeding was given to the corporation

[ 342 U.S. Page 440]

     in the instant case through regular service of summons upon its president while he was in Ohio acting in that capacity. Accordingly, there can be no jurisdictional objection based upon a lack of notice to a responsible representative of the corporation.

The answer to the question of whether the state courts of Ohio are open to a proceeding in personam, against an amply notified foreign corporation, to enforce a cause of action not arising in Ohio and not related to the business or activities of the corporation in that State rests entirely upon the law of Ohio, unless the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment compels a decision either way.

The suggestion that federal due process compels the State to open its courts to such a case has no substance.

"Provisions for making foreign corporations subject to service in the State is a matter of legislative discretion, and a failure to provide for such service is not a denial of due process. Still less is it incumbent upon a State in furnishing such process to make the jurisdiction over the foreign corporation wide enough to include the adjudication of transitory ...


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