Civil Procedure. Transient jurisdiction, also referred to as “tag jurisdiction,” is a form personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant who is served with process within the forum state.
The constitutionality of transient jurisdiction was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in Burnham v. Superior Court of California, in which the Court held that “the Due Process Clause does not prohibit the California courts from exercising jurisdiction over petitioner based on the fact of in-state service of process.” The defendant in Burnham was a New Jersey resident personally served with a divorce petition while visiting his children in California. Although no part of the divorce proceedings arose out of the defendant’s California contacts, the Court nevertheless held that California’s courts could exercise general personal jurisdiction over the defendant. The Court reaffirmed the long-standing rule that “personal service upon a physically present defendant suffice[s] to confer jurisdiction, without regard to whether the defendant was only briefly in the State or whether the cause of action was related to his activities there.”