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Registrar of Motor Vehicles is Agent

Recent blogs of mine have dealt with jurisdictional issues. Some have focused on how it is that a defendant comes under the personal jurisdiction of a Massachusetts court and others have dealt with the method or mode of service of process on that tort defendant. Probably the most famous case in the country involving personal jurisdiction arose in Massachusetts.  It involved an out-of-state driver who caused an injury in Massachusetts. The case is Hess v. Pawloski, 274 U.S. 352 (1927) and the defendant’s use of the the highways of the Commonwealth “ implied consent” to the appointment of the registrar of motor vehicles as the driver’s agent for service of process. That 1927 case remains law more than 80 years later. Even though the jurisdictional standard has changed from consent to  minimum contacts, the result is the same: the defendant who causes tortious injury in Massachusetts is subject to suit in its courts, an important procedural benefit.

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