Sat, Feb. 11, 2006

Texas Saves German Press

CK - Washington. Stefan Liniger and Stephan Wilske suggest in Borer gegen Burda und Bertelsmann--Grenzen der Allzuständigkeit von US-Gerichten, published in Neue Zürcher Zeitung on February 10, 2006, that certain plaintiffs with dibs on suing the European press in Texas for allegedly defamatory statements in connection with European activities will become more cautious. The reason is the Borer decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit of June 30, 2005 which the authors discuss in German.

Liniger and Wilske maintain that minimum contacts of European publications to Texan fora may fail to exist in other cases as well. In Borer, only 70 of 750,000 copies of the Bunte magazine produced found their way to Texas. Fewer than 60 of 1 million printed copies of Stern went to Texas. In addition, the former Swiss ambassador's nexus to Texas was minimal, at least with respect to the facts that relate to the complaint.

The authors warn against over-estimating the protection afforded the European press by the appellate decision. By itself, a limited circulation in Texas may be insufficient to avoid personal jurisdiction. Had the court found more tortious acts and effects in Texas, it may have ruled against the publishers.

Transblawg analyzes the story in English and links to the decision and other background information.

Disclosure: Wilske is the author's co-author in various publications and former legal intern.

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