On May 18, 2018, the Illinois Appellate Court for the First District reversed Judge Clare McWilliams’ denial of a defendant’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. The plaintiff was a resident of Alabama and worked in numerous states and for a short time at the former Republic Steel in Illinois, but failed to allege actual exposure to the defendant’s products occurred in Illinois. The defendant, a New York corporation, filed a motion to dismiss on the basis that the plaintiff’s complaint failed to allege sufficient facts to confer personal jurisdiction upon it, arguing that it did not consent to the circuit court’s jurisdiction, the court had no general personal jurisdiction exists over it, and no specific personal jurisdiction existed because the plaintiff did not allege that he was exposed to asbestos from its products in Illinois. The plaintiff countered by asserting in part that Illinois has “jurisdiction by necessity” because the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos in multiple states and there is no single forum in which he could sue every defendant. The plaintiff further contended that the defendant consented to jurisdiction by doing business and having a registered agent in this State, and is subject to the circuit court’s general personal jurisdiction due to “systematic and continuous business contacts” that caused it to be “at home” in Illinois. The Court applied the U. S. Supreme Court’s decision in Daimler AG v. Bauman, and found that the defendant was not “at home” in Illinois and, therefore, not subject to the circuit court’s general personal jurisdiction. Since there was no evidence that the tort occurred in Illinois, the Court reversed the order of the circuit court denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, and remanded the case with directions to enter an order dismissing the party defendant.
You can read the full opinion here. (PDF opens in a new window.)
All defendants pursuing a personal jurisdiction defense should be sure to cite this decision.