A Colorado resident purchased a replacement main rotor holder for his radio-controlled helicopter from a retailer in Colorado. The main rotor holder was manufactured by Align Corporation, a Taiwanese company, and distributed by Horizon, a Delaware-based corporation. Align has no physical presence in the United States, but it contracts with U.S.-based distributors to sell its products to retailers who, in turn, sell them to consumers. The plaintiff was injured in Colorado when the blades held by the main rotor holder released and struck him in the eye.
The Colorado Supreme Court found jurisdiction under the “stream of commerce” test.
“We reject Align’s argument that selling its products through a distributor somehow turns the distribution and sale of its products into the unilateral activity of a third party that cannot properly be considered in the minimum contacts analysis. Adopting such a position would render foreign manufacturers immune from suit in the United States so long as they sell their products in the United States through separately incorporated U.S.-based distributors.”
Additionally: “Any burden on Align is simply the burden on any foreign manufacturer under similar circumstances. While this burden is real, it is precisely the type of burden reasonably imposed upon a defendant who has purposefully availed itself of the privileges of doing business in this state. Additionally, as a foreign defendant whose product is alleged to have injured a U.S. citizen, Align will suffer no greater burden in defending this suit in Colorado than it would in any other State. Moreover, Colorado has a clear interest in protecting its residents from defective products, and Boustred, a Colorado resident, has a great interest in obtaining effective relief in a Colorado court.”
Defendant’s petition for certiorari was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Align Corporation Limited v. Allister Mark Boustred, No.16SC448, 2017 WL 7208133 (Colo. Nov. 13, 2017), cert. denied, No.17-1227, 2018 WL 1142978 (June 11, 2018).