Monday, April 10, 2017

Personal Jurisdiction Review

Clemens v. McNamee

The plaintiff, Roger Clemens, moved to Texas in 1977 at the age of fifteen. In 1983, after playing college baseball for the University of Texas, he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox, a Major League Baseball team. Clemens played for the Red Sox until 1996, when he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. As a member of the Blue Jays, Clemens met the defendant Brian McNamee, an athletic trainer for the Toronto organization. In 1999, Clemens joined the New York Yankees, and one year later, the Yankees hired McNamee as an assistant trainer. Clemens trained with McNamee until some point in 2007. Over the course of their professional relationship, McNamee traveled to Texas approximately thirty-five times to train Clemens and other professional athletes. Although he temporarily resided in other cities during his professional baseball career, Clemens returned to Houston at the end of every baseball season. He currently lives in Texas with his wife and four children.

In the summer of 2007, federal authorities contacted McNamee in New York City in connection with the Government's criminal investigation of BALCO, a Bay Area laboratory allegedly involved in the development and sale of performance-enhancing drugs. At the interview, authorities told McNamee that the Government had sufficient evidence to secure a conviction against McNamee for delivering illegal performance-enhancing drugs to athletes. In lieu of prosecution, the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California gave McNamee use immunity for any statements he gave in relation to the Government's investigation. McNamee was interviewed by the Government for two days during which he told investigators that he had injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs in 1998, 2000, and 2001. These injections, according to McNamee, took place in Toronto and New York.

A short time after his interview with the Government, federal authorities contacted McNamee again, this time requesting that he cooperate with a Major League Baseball investigation being conducted by former United States Senator George Mitchell into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the game ("Mitchell Commission"). Federal investigators arranged and participated in McNamee's meeting with Mitchell in New York. On December 12, 2007, the Mitchell Commission released the findings of its investigation in its Report to the Commissioner of Baseball of an Independent Investigation Into the Illegal Use of Steroids and Other Performance Enhancing Substances By Players In Major League Baseball ("Mitchell Report"). The Mitchell Report included McNamee's statements concerning Clemens' use of performance-enhancing drugs. Every national news service, as well as every major newspaper in Texas, republished McNamee's statements. Following the Mitchell Report's release, McNamee spoke with John Heyman, a senior writer for the internet site During this interview at McNamee's house in Queens, New York, McNamee repeated the statements that had been published in the Mitchell Report. Heyman posted an article containing these statements to the website on January 7, 2008.

In January 2008, Clemens filed suit for defamation against McNamee in Texas state court. McNamee removed the action to the United States District Court and moved to dismiss Clemens' complaint for inter alia lack of personal jurisdiction.

For purposes of this analysis, proceed as if Texas has a catch-all long arm statute, giving courts jurisdiction "To the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States."