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United States v. Consolidated Rail Corp.

ELR Citation: 18 ELR 20405
Nos. No. 85-502 MMS, 674 F. Supp. 138/26 ERC 1990/(D. Del., 11/06/1987) Personal jurisdiction

The court holds that it does not have personal jursidiction under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) or the United States Constitution over a Massachusetts newspaper whose waste ink was disposed of at a Delaware hazardous waste site. The court first holds that CERCLA prior to its amendment in 1986 did not authorize nationwide service of process and that the amendments do not apply to this previously filed action. The court then holds that the newspaper took no action within the state and therefore is not subject to "transactional" jurisdiction under Delaware's long-arm statute. The court holds that the alleged improper disposal of hazardous wastes is a tortious injury under another subsection of the statute and the paper's maintenance of advertising and subscription accounts within the state constitute a persistent course of conduct establishing jurisdiction. The court holds, however, that the assertion of jurisdiction under the long-arm statute violates constitutional rights of due process. The newspaper's activities within Delaware are unrelated to the cause of action, and it has had no more than 26 subscribers and 12 advertising accounts in the state in any one year. Although regular and continuous, these activities are too minimal to allow the assertion of jurisdiction.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Richard G. Andrews, Ass't U.S. Attorney
J. Caleb Boggs Federal Bldg., 844 King St., Room 5001, Wilmington DE 19801
(302) 573-6277

Counsel for Defendant
Somers S. Price Jr.
Potter, Anderson & Corroon
350 Delaware Trust Bldg., P.O. Box 951, Wilmington DE 19899-0951
(302) 658-6771