The Law School Authority

HESS v. PAWLOSKI Case Brief

Summary of HESS v. PAWLOSKI

Facts: While driving in Massachusetts, Hess, a resident of Pennsylvania, negligently struck and injured Pawloski.  Pawloski filed suit against Hess in Massachusetts, under a statute where non-residents consented to jurisdiction in the Mass. Courts if they were involved in an accident on their roads.  Hess received actual notice of Pawloski’s suit and contested jurisdiction.  Jurisdiction was upheld by both the trial court and the Supreme Judicial Ct.  Hess appeared and defended the case at trial but the jury found for Pawloski.  Hess appealed claiming the Mass. Courts lacked jurisdiction over him and the provision for service of process was in violation of his 14thAmendment Due Process rights.

Issue:  Does a state have the power to declare that all non-residents who use its highways have impliedly consented to submit to the state’s jurisdiction for all actions arising from that highway usage?

Rule:  Yes, a state does have the power to declare that all non-residents who use its highways have impliedly consented to submit to the state’s jurisdiction for all actions arising from that highway usage.

Application: The non-resident demonstrates, by choosing to drive within the state, that it is not so completely inaccessible or remote that subjecting him to jurisdiction there would be totally unfair.



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