Lidov (who was in
Massachusetts) wrote a critical article about Revell and posted it on and
internet site hosted by Columbia University (in New York). Revell sued
for defamation in his State, Texas.
The article claimed that
Revell (Dep. Director of FBI) had covered up information related to the
Pan Am 103 bombing.
The Trial Court dismissed the
case. Revell appealed.
The Trial Court found that
there was a lack of minimum contacts
between Texas and the defendants to give the Texas Court personal
See Federal Rule
The Appellate Court affirmed.
The Appellate Court
suggested, based on the decision of Zippo Manufacturing Co. v. Zippo
Dot Com, Inc. (952 F. Supp. 1119 (1997)), that there be some
kind of sliding scale to determine if there are enough contacts between the
person who posts information on the internet and forum residents to be
considered minimum contacts necessary to establish general personal
The Court found that using
the Zippo standard, there was not
enough to hold for specific jurisdiction either.
Revel unsuccessfully argued
that this case was similar to Calder v. Jones (465 U.S. 783 (1984)), in which the US
Supreme Court found that publishing a slanderous article in a newspaper
was similar to sending a mailbomb (for jurisdictional purposes).
However, unlike Calder,
Lidov's article was not directed to a Texas audience, did not refer to
Texas, nor did it talk about Revell's activities in Texas.
The general rule is that one
cannot purposefully avail
themselves of "some forum somewhere." Due process requires that
the defendant's conduct and connection with the forum State are such that
he could reasonably anticipate being sued there.
Lidov swore he didn't even
know Revell lived in Texas at the time of the suit.