Beverage v. Pullman & Comley (1/23/14)

We blogged the Court of Appeals opinion here; go there for the facts.

The Supreme Court affirms in a a four-paragraph opinion, two of which are single sentences. It just says that the Court of Appeals was right. But it “clarifies” – and this is the only point of issuing an opinion – that some of the contacts with Arizona were “Arizona-client-specific” rather than “Arizona-specific” because they “relate not to Arizona” but to people living in Arizona.

Do you see a subtle analytical distinction – as opposed to a mere factual difference – between them? Do you wonder if there is any? The court does not help matters by saying that this “minor distinction does not alter our conclusion.”

So the court has published an opinion for the purpose of making a “minor clarification” (yes, it uses the word “minor” twice) that makes no legal difference here. Is this (a) a useless exercise, (b) the compromised result of some disagreement within the court, or (c) part of the ongoing efforts of courts everywhere to make the analysis of their jurisdiction ever more byzantine and its limits thus unknowable?

(link to opinion)