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CHANCELLOR v. LAWRENCE

November 5, 1980

JANICE CHANCELLOR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JIMI ANN LAWRENCE, EDWARD T. WEAVER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Moran, District Judge.

  MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This cause is before the Court on motions of two of three sets of defendants to dismiss for lack of in personam jurisdiction and improper venue. The underlying controversy is a § 1983 action which alleges violations of plaintiff's constitutional rights under the First, Fourth, Eighth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments, breach of guardianship duties, professional malpractice and medical malpractice. Federal subject matter jurisdiction is premised on 28 U.S.C. § 1331, § 1332 and § 1343. It is submitted that the Court has pendant jurisdiction over the breach of duty and malpractice claims. For the reasons set forth herein, both jurisdictional and venue objections raised by defendants must be sustained. Accordingly, the motions are granted and the cause is dismissed as to those defendants.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

At age 12, plaintiff, Janice Chancellor, was determined to be a neglected minor by the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, Juvenile Division, and adjudged a ward of the state. On June 26, 1970, Janice was committed to the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services ("IDCFS") and Richard S. Layman, Guardianship Administrator at IDCFS, was appointed her legal guardian.

After a number of apparently unsuccessful experiences in private foster homes, the IDCFS, in early 1971, deemed it advisable to place Janice in the Meridell Achievement Center ("Meridell"), a residential group care facility located near Austin, Texas. Plaintiff arrived at Meridell on April 6, 1971. She was accompanied by Frankie Laird, her IDCFS caseworker, who spent the rest of that day processing Janice's admission and inspecting the facility. Ms. Laird, on behalf of IDCFS, also executed an individual placement agreement with Meridell for Janice's care.

Janice Chancellor was not the first child IDCFS had placed at Meridell. Rather, numerous wards had been sent to the Center prior to 1971 pursuant to a general written operating agreement. Under this general agreement, IDCFS would send a monthly check to Meridell, as reimbursement for the daily care provided to IDCFS placements during the preceding month, computed at the then applicable per diem rate. Vouchers or receipts supplied by Meridell indicate that over 100 IDCFS children were at Meridell at any one time during 1971, and Meridell received almost $800,000 for the care of these children.

In late 1971, while plaintiff was in residence at Meridell, she complained of abdominal pain. Plaintiff was taken to Meridell's regular outside pediatrician, Dr. Miles Sedberry, for treatment. Dr. Sedberry examined plaintiff and took X-ray photographs of her intestinal tract. These photographs indicated the possible presence of a calcium "mass" in Ms. Chancellor's abdomen. Dr. Sedberry thus referred plaintiff to Dr. George Tipton, a surgeon in Austin.

According to the complaint, Dr. Tipton examined plaintiff on November 2, 1971. On the basis of a rectal examination and pelvic X-rays, Dr. Tipton made a tentative diagnosis of ovarian "teratoma". Two weeks later, on November 15, 1971, Dr. Tipton advised officials at the Meridell Center of his findings. He noted that "teratoma . . . may be very malignant," and recommended that an operation be performed for further diagnosis (since a positive diagnosis was not possible without a pathological examination) and possible removal of the "mass". Dr. Tipton requested that Meridell secure authorization to allow him to employ whatever surgical procedures he felt would be required in the operation. At a later date, the surgeon also requested permission to use the necessary anesthetic and pathological routines.

Consent for the operation and the related procedures was obtained by Meridell from plaintiff's guardian in Illinois at IDCFS. On November 23, 1971, an operation was performed by Dr. Tipton, assisted by Drs. Bailey and Pelphrey, in Austin, Texas. During the surgery a cyst was discovered in plaintiff's right ovary, which after subsequent pathological analysis was determined to be benign. However, for reasons which are wholly undetermined at this stage of the lawsuit, not only was Ms. Chancellor's right ovary extracted, but her left ovary, uterus and appendix were removed as well.

The complaint alleges that at no time prior to the surgery was plaintiff informed either of Dr. Tipton's pre-operative diagnosis or of the extent of the operation. Meridell's staff merely informed Ms. Chancellor that an appendectomy was to be performed. In May of 1972, about six months after surgery, plaintiff was removed from Meridell and transferred to Chicago State Hospital, a public mental institution in Illinois. While at this latter institution, Janice was informed that her ovaries and uterus had been removed and her procreative capacity eliminated.

On November 13, 1978, plaintiff filed the current action in federal district court against 13 individual defendants. For purposes of these motions, the defendants can be divided into three groups: (1) former officials at IDCFS ("The IDCFS defendants"); (2) those relevant officials of the Meridell clinic in Texas ("The Meridell Defendants"); and (3) the three Austin, Texas physicians who participated in and performed plaintiff's operation (The "Texas Physicians")*fn1. There are six counts in the complaint alleging: (1) denial of the plaintiff's right to procreate; (2) denial of due process of law; (3) denial of plaintiff's right to treatment; (4) breach of guardianship duties; (5) professional malpractice; and (6) medical malpractice. Counts 1 through 3 are directed toward all defendants. Counts 4 and 5 are directed toward the IDCFS and Meridell Defendants, and Count 6 is alleged against the Texas Physicians only. Both the Texas Physicians and the Meridell Defendants have moved to dismiss herein. Since each group has raised different defenses and because in personam jurisdictional defenses are necessarily fact sensitive, the respective motions are discussed individually.

DISCUSSION

Although it is not clear from plaintiff's brief, presumably she intends to assert Illinois jurisdiction under the "transacting business within the state" provision of Illinois long arm statute, Ill.Rev.Stat. Ch. 110 § 17(1)(a) (1980). The determination of in personam jurisdiction involves a two-tiered analysis both statutory and constitutional. However, since the legislative intent of the Illinois long-arm statute is to assert jurisdiction to the maximum extent permitted under the due process clause, Hutter Northern Trust v. Door County Chamber of Commerce, 403 F.2d 481 (7th Cir. 1968); Nelson v. Miller, 11 Ill.2d 378, 143 N.E.2d 673 (1957), the statutory and constitutional analyses are merged here.

The Supreme Court on numerous occasions has articulated the limits of in personam jurisdiction under the due process clause. See e. g., World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 100 S.Ct. 559, 62 L.Ed.2d 490 (1980); Shaffer v. Heitner, 433 U.S. 186, 97 S.Ct. 2569, 53 L.Ed.2d 683 (1977), International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 66 S.Ct. 154, 90 L.Ed. 95 (1945). The thrust of these decisions is that sufficient "minimum contacts" must exist between the defendant and the forum state so that jurisdiction over non-residents does not violate "traditional concepts of fair play and substantial justice." International Shoe Co. v. Washington, supra at 316, 66 S.Ct. at 158. It is well settled that there is no specific formula for ascertaining which "contacts" will satisfy the constitutional minima. Rather, the court must examine the facts of each case in light of certain factors including the burden on the defendant, the forum's state's interest in adjudicating the dispute and the plaintiff's interest in obtaining effective relief. World-Wide Volkswagen v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 292, 100 S.Ct. 559, 564, 62 L.Ed.2d 490 (1980). See also, Kulco v. Superior Ct., 436 U.S. 84, 92, 98 S.Ct. 1690, 1697, 56 L.Ed.2d 132 (1978); McGee v. International Life Insurance Co., 355 U.S. 220, 223, 78 S.Ct. 199, 201, 2 L.Ed.2d 223 (1957). Certainly, a fundamental inquiry of the "minimum contacts" analysis is whether the non-resident ...


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