Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Shutts
472 U.S. 797 (1985)

  • Shutts brought a class action lawsuit (using Rule 23(b)(3)) against Phillips in Kansas State Court.
    • There were about 33,000 members of the class, of which 27,000 were not Kansas citizens.
    • Shutts defined the class only as those who received notice. They removed people from the class who they could not find. They also removed people who chose to opt out.
  • Phillips made a motion limit the members of the class to only those living in Kansas because a Kansas State Court could not enter a binding judgment on someone outside of Kansas’ jurisdiction.
    • Phillips argued that most of the members of the class did not have the minimum contacts necessary for Kansas to assert jurisdiction over them.
  • The US found for Shutts and allowed the case to proceed.
    • The US Supreme Court found that the minimum contacts argument only applied to defendants who had to travel far to defend themselves.
    • In this case, the 27,000 members of the class that didn’t live in Kansas weren’t going to actually have to travel to Kansas and were not really inconvenienced by this case, so it’s not a problem.
    • The Court noted that the 27,000 would be bound by the decision via claim preclusion, if they didn’t get in on this case, they would never be able to recover anywhere.