Representing U.S. Navy sailors and their families in a case arising from the the deadly collision between a Japanese-owned container ship and the U.S.S. Fitzgerald, a U.S. Navy destroyer, CCL filed its opening brief explaining that the trial court's decision to throw the case out on personal-jurisdiction grounds amounted to declaring an authorizing federal rule of civil procedure unconstitutional.

    The 2017 crash of the two ships tore open a huge hole in the destroyer, causing compartments on the ship to fill with water, killing seven sailors and injuring 40 others. Rule 4(k)(2) authorizes federal courts to assume personal jurisdiction over foreign defendants who have a substantial and continuing presence in the United States even though the defendant has no specific state where personal jurisdiction naturally lies. Even so, a federal district court held that due process also requires that the defendant be "essentially at home" in the United States.

     CCL's brief argues that the "at-home" requirement is not an aspect of Fifth Amendment due process and wrongly renders Rule 4(k)(2) a nullity and unconstitutional on its face. Moreover, because the case takes place in the category of admiralty law, the district court's ruling undermines traditional admiralty jurisdiction, which the Constitution itself confirms.

     The case now stands in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.