TAMBURO v. DWORKIN: 601 F.3d 693 (7th Cir. 2010)
The plaintiff was an Illinois resident and the owner of a dog pedigree program that, after
rightfully taking information from other dog pedigree websites, was the subject of
retaliation against him by postings on the other company’s websites to boycott plaintiff’s
program, as well as blast emails to the plaintiff. The defendants were several owners of
dog pedigree websites, some from the United States, one from Canada, and one from
Australia. None had any ties with Illinois. Plaintiff contended that these actions by the
defendant companies were defamatory and tortiously interfered with his business.
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois found that the court
lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendants and dismissed the case. The plaintiff
The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit was asked to determine whether the
transmission of blast emails and boycotting messages about another Internet company
can subject the defendant to personal jurisdiction in the plaintiff’s state of residence.
The court used the Calder v. Jones test and held that in this case, the defendants
“defame[d] and tortiously generate[d] a consumer boycott against [plaintiff] knowing
that he lived and operated his software business in Illinois and would be injured there.”
On this basis, the court held that the federal district court could exercise personal
jurisdiction over the defendants in Illinois.
What test was used in this case to determine that there was jurisdiction over the
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defendants in Illinois?
In the new technological age, there is much litigation on whether one is subject to
personal jurisdiction even though he or she had never stepped foot in the
jurisdiction where the court was located or, for that matter, even heard of it. What is
your opinion on how cases such as this should be decided?
Ethical Consideration: Ethical Consideration: The court held in this case that the district court in Illinois
had personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Could this result be justified solely on
the idea that we