In a petition for certiorari, CCL urged the Supreme Court to review the en banc decision of the Fifth Circuit, denying personal jurisdiction over a Japanese multi glomerate whose container ship struck the U.S.S. Fitzgerald in the Sea of Japan, killing seven U.S. Navy sailors and injuring more than 40 others. The Fifth Circuit's decision, which drew a strong 5-judge dissent, essentially rendered Rule 4(k)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure unconstitutional, while unending centuries of admiralty law.

     The sailors and their families brought suit in federal court in New Orleans, alleging that the container ship's negligence was responsible for the deaths and injuries. They sought jurisdiction under Rule 4(k)(2), which provides long-arm jurisdiction over foreign companies for federal causes of action when no state court of general jurisdiction can hear the case and when the foreign company has sufficient contacts with the United States as a whole. However, the federal district court applying a Fifth Circuit precedent that merely assumed that Rule 4(k)(2) was a form of general jurisdiction, held that despite extensive U.S. contacts the Japanese company still had to be incorporated or headquartered in the U.S. to satisfy due process under the Fifth Amendment.

     A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit affirmed because of the in-circuit precedent, but urged their colleagues to reconsider the precedent en banc. This was the result that CCL President Robert S. Peck urged upon the panel in oral argument, if the earlier decision could not be distinguished. A 17-judge court then reheard the case, with Peck arguing again, but ruled 12-5 to affirm the dismissal of the matter. 

      Today's petition urged the Supreme Court to take up the case and reverse. Lawyers for the defendant will file a brief opposing that position.