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Aaaa Creative, Inc. v. Sovereign Holidays





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. WILLIAM A. KELLY, Judge, presiding.


The plaintiff appeals from an order of the Circuit Court which granted the defendant's motion to quash service of summons for lack of personal jurisdiction over the corporate defendant. The plaintiff contends that activities of the defendant constituted transaction of business within Illinois which subjected the defendant to the jurisdiction of the Illinois courts>. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 110, par. 17.

The plaintiff's complaint sets forth that in August 1976 the defendant, Sovereign Holidays, Ltd., contacted the plaintiff, AAAA Creative, Inc., by telephone and requested that David Maenza, an employee of the plaintiff, perform photography work aboard a cruise ship sailing off the coast of France. A contract was formed and the plaintiff fully performed all its obligations.

The plaintiff's fee for its services was $3,716.76 of which $1,716.76 remains unpaid. Count I of the complaint asks the court to enter a judgment for possession of approximately 870 transparencies furnished to the defendant. Count II seeks damages in the amount of $1,716.76 plus costs and interest.

The defendant filed a special and limited appearance for the sole purpose of objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the defendant. The defendant also filed a motion to quash service of summons which was supported by the affidavit of Martin Fixman, the president of the defendant corporation.

Fixman states that the defendant corporation, a New York corporation, is not authorized to do business in Illinois and has never maintained an office in Illinois. In August 1976 he was requested to arrange for photographs of a cruise ship for a travel brochure. Fixman ascertained that David Maenza, the plaintiff's employee, was working in Europe. Fixman called Maenza in Europe from New York and hired him for the photographic assignment.

The plaintiff filed a reply to the defendant's motion along with the affidavit of David Maenza, the president and employee of the plaintiff corporation. He asserts that when Fixman contacted him in Europe he agreed to accept the assignment on the condition that Fixman forward an advance payment of $1,000 and a written shooting assignment to the corporate office in Chicago. Maenza states that these two items were received in Chicago from Fixman.

• 1 Section 17 of the Civil Practice Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 110, par. 17) provides in pertinent part as follows:

"(1) Any person, whether or not a citizen or resident of this State, who in person or through an agent does any of the acts hereinafter enumerated, thereby submits such person, and, if an individual, his personal representative, to the jurisdiction of the courts> of this State as to any cause of action arising from the doing of any of such acts:

(a) The transaction of any business within this State."

The Illinois Supreme Court has noted that this section reflects "a conscious purpose to assert jurisdiction over nonresident defendants to the extent permitted by the due process clause." Nelson v. Miller (1957), 11 Ill.2d 378, 389, 143 N.E.2d 673.

The United States Supreme Court in Schaffer v. Heitner (1977), 433 U.S. 186, 53 L.Ed.2d 683, 97 S.Ct. 2569, reaffirmed the following requirements set forth in International Shoe Co. v. Washington (1945), 326 U.S. 310, 90 L.Ed. 95, 66 S.Ct. 154, which must be satisfied before a State can exercise jurisdiction over a nonresident corporation.

1. Federal concepts of due process must be satisfied. "[D]ue process requires only that in order to subject a defendant to a judgment in personam, if he be not present within the territory of the forum, he have certain minimum contacts with it such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend `traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.'" (326 U.S. 310, 316, 90 L.Ed. 95, 102, 66 S.Ct. 154, 158.)

2. The defendant corporation must have had such minimum contacts "with the state of the forum as make it reasonable, in the context of our federal system of government, to require the corporation to defend the particular suit which is brought ...

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