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Florida has Very Long Arm(s) When it Comes to Personal Jurisdiction

Alex Paul Rosenthal
Rosenthal Law Group - Weston Office

October 13, 2012

Generally, in order to bring a non-resident to Florida to defend a case for breach of contract, there must be more than an obligation to pay in the state to support constitutional due process requirements.    Florida courts have consistently held that an obligation to pay in Florida alone is not enough, even if the parties agree in their contract to jurisdiction in Florida.

In the context of business transactions, this outcome renders so many transactions meaningless since creditors find themselves with guarantors (for example) who reside elsewhere and enforcement could be tricky and expensive; creditors find themselves having to pursue individual guarantors in different jurisdictions.

Welcome Florida Statute §§ 685.101-102.  This Statute is essentially an alternative long-arm provision which enables parties to consent to jurisdiction in Florida if certain conditions exist.

The Contract between the parties must (1) include a choice of law provision designating Florida law as the governing law, (2) include a provision whereby the nonresident agrees to submit to the jurisdiction of the Florida courts, (3) involve consideration of not less than $250,000.00 and (4) either bear a substantial or reasonable relation to Florida or have at least one of the parties to the contract must be a resident of Florida or incorporated under its law. 

If these conditions are satisfied, bringing contracting parties to Florida to defend themselves is easily achievable when it would normally been difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.


The views expressed in this document are solely the views of the author and not Martindale-Hubbell. This document is intended for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case or circumstance.

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