Viasystems, Inc. v. EBM-Papst St. Georgen GmbH & Co., KG

On July 21, 2011, the United Court of Appeal for the Eigth Circuit, did not have jurisdiction over a German corporation in the products liability suit because the corporation did not have sufficient “minimum contacts” with Missouri. Viasystems, a Missouri-based corporation manufactures telecommunications equipment.

Vitasystems contracted to manufacture base units for Ericsson A.B., a Swedish company. Each base unit consisted of a cooling fan, and, at Ericsson’s prompting, Viasystems purchased cooling fans that were manufactured by EBM-Papst St. Georgen GmbH & Co., KG (St. Georgen), a German corporation.

The fans were manufactured in St. Georgen’s Germany plant and shipped to China, where they were sold to EBM-Papst Shanghai, a Chinese corporation, which resold them to Viasystems’ Chinese subsidiary. After the fans were installed, the completed base units were sold to Ericsson for use in mobile phone facilities in Japan. At no point did the fans or base units enter the United States.

Subsequently, fan failure in some of the base units started to occur ...

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