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New Mexico Court Finds LG Chem America Can Be Sued in NM for Exploding Battery Injury

Dec 16, 2020

Paynter Law defeats LG Chem subsidiary’s attempt to avoid jurisdiction in New Mexico.

PRESS RELEASE

Contact Info: Celeste Boyd / 919-307-9991 / cboyd@paynterlaw.com

December 15, 2020 (Albuquerque, NM)  –  Paynter Law scored another victory when a New Mexico judge refused to dismiss the firm’s lawsuit on behalf of Jordan Baca—a Paynter Law client who was a high school senior when his leg was severely injured by an exploding lithium-ion battery.

Despite serving as a marketing subsidiary for LG Chem, Ltd. (which manufactures lithium-ion batteries in Korea), LG Chem America Inc. (“LGCAI”) had argued that lacked the specific “minimum contacts” with New Mexico required by due process in order for the Court to exercise jurisdiction over the company.

Judge Carl Butkus, for the 2nd Judicial District Court in Bernalillo County, disagreed. 

In an extensive 32-page opinion, the Court denied LGCAI’s motion to dismiss the case on jurisdictional grounds, holding LGCAI would be subject to jurisdiction if evidence showed that LGCAI participated in the chain of distribution for the battery that injured Jordan Baca, and that “through LG Chem America’s marketing and/or distribution efforts,” the battery “flowed through the stream of commerce . . . with the ultimate result that it reached New Mexico and injured plaintiff Baca.”

The Court explained that marketing a product on a national level is equivalent to marketing it in each state: “National or regional marketing is purposeful almost by definition. It would seem eminently logical that directing marketing or distribution at the United States also directs them at the component parts, i.e., the states.” 

Jurisdiction ultimately being a question of fairness, the Court quoted another opinion: “Is it unfair to compel a manufacturer selling thousands of products nationwide to defend its allegedly unsafe design in a state where its product was sold and injures a residents using it? We think not.”

The case is captioned Jordan Baca v. LG Chem Ltd., et al., No. D-202-CV-2020-01785, and is filed in the 2nd Judicial District Court of New Mexico. Paynter Law is co-counsel on the case with the law firm of Crollett & McDowell, P.A., which has offices in Albuquerque and Taos. 

About Paynter Law

With two offices in North Carolina and one in Washington, D.C., Paynter Law is dedicated to protecting the rights of businesses, consumers, and victims of fraud and negligence, with a focus on insurance disputes, class actions, high-stakes personal injury litigation, complex commercial cases, intellectual property disputes, and antitrust litigation. More about the firm can be found at: https://www.paynterlaw.com.

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