Quasi In Rem Jurisdiction

Civil Procedure.  Quasi in rem jurisdiction gives the courts of the forum state limited jurisdiction to adjudicate matters pertaining to property of an out-of-state defendant that is located in that forum state.  Quasi in rem jurisdiction is based on a person’s interest in property within the jurisdiction of the court and, although quasi in rem proceedings are brought against the defendant personally, it is the defendant’s interest in the property that serves as the basis of the jurisdiction.   Since it binds the defendant only with respect to his or her interest in the property upon which jurisdiction is based, the value of a quasi in rem judgment cannot exceed the value of the property.

Quasi in rem jurisdiction has become obsolete since the United States Supreme Court’s opinion in Shaffer v. Heitner, 433 U.S. 186 (1977).  In Shaffer, the Court held that in cases involving a non-resident defendant, the jurisdiction of the state court is to be measured by the minimum contacts standard enunciated in International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310 (1945), even in quasi in rem jurisdiction matters.  In other words, where a non-resident defendant is involved, quasiinrem jurisdiction is merged into in personam jurisdiction.

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