Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Shutts
472 U.S. 797 (1985)
- Shutts brought a class
action lawsuit (using Rule 23(b)(3))
against Phillips in Kansas State Court.
- There were about 33,000
members of the class, of which 27,000 were not Kansas citizens.
- Shutts defined the class
only as those who received notice. They removed people from the class who
they could not find. They also removed people who chose to opt out.
- Phillips made a motion limit
the members of the class to only those living in Kansas because a Kansas
State Court could not enter a binding judgment on someone outside of
- Phillips argued that most of
the members of the class did not have the minimum contacts necessary for Kansas to assert jurisdiction
- The US found for Shutts and
allowed the case to proceed.
- The US Supreme Court found
that the minimum contacts argument
only applied to defendants who had to travel far to defend themselves.
- In this case, the 27,000
members of the class that didn't live in Kansas weren't going to actually
have to travel to Kansas and were not really inconvenienced by this case,
so it's not a problem.
- The Court noted that the
27,000 would be bound by the decision via claim preclusion, if they didn't get in on this case, they
would never be able to recover anywhere.