The IT Law Wiki


A long-arm statute is a law that gives a state court jurisdiction over an out-of-state individual or company whose conduct caused damages within the jurisdiction or to a resident of the jurisdiction.

A long-arm statute allows the court to "reach out" beyond its borders and predicate jurisdiction over non-residents upon a variety of contacts with the forum, including the transaction of business in the state, the commission of certain acts within the state. It is a method that allows courts to obtain in personam jurisdiction over a particular defendant. For example, in Feathers v McLucas,[1] the plaintiffs were injured by the explosion of a truck driven on a public highway in New York. The court interpreted the statute to cover tortious acts outside New York causing injury within, as long as defendant expects or should reasonably expect the act to have consequences in the state.

Types of long-arm statutes[]

There are three types of long-arm statutes that have been recognized by the courts:

  • Extent of due process long-arm statute is one that satisfies the basic requirements of due process and would therefore allow the court to serve and gain personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant;
  • Intermediate long arm-statute is one which applies to claims that are related to the defendant's contacts with the forum state (specific jurisdiction). In Hall v Helicopters Nacionales De Colombia, S.A.,[2] the statute provided that a non-resident doing business within the state was subject to process "in any action arising out of such business done in this state."
  • Laundry list long arm-statute is one which gives specific examples of when the court would be permitted to obtain personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant. For example, the Illinois long-arm statute states that the defendant can be subjected to personal jurisdiction if he or she has conducted (1) the transaction of any business within the state; (2) the commission of a tortious act within the state; (3) the ownership, use, or possession of any real estate situated in this state; (4) contracting to insure any person, property or risk located within this state at the time of contracting.


  1. 15 N.Y.2d 443, 209 N.E.2d 68, 261 N.Y.S.2d 8 (1965).
  2. 638 S.W.2d 870 (Tex. 1982) (full-text).

See also[]