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Chandler Leasing Co. v. Trus Joist Corp.

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 17, 1980.

CHANDLER LEASING CO., PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

TRUS JOIST CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. MICHAEL F. ZLATNIK, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE CAMPBELL DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Chandler Leasing Company, Inc. (hereinafter Chandler), appeals from an order of the circuit court of Cook County granting the motion of Trus Joist Corporation (hereinafter Trus Joist) to dismiss a suit filed by Chandler against Trus Joist. Chandler contends that Trus Joist is subject to the in personam jurisdiction of the Illinois courts> based on section 13.3 of the Civil Practice Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 110, par. 13.3), which provides that service can be made on a private corporation by serving an agent or officer of said corporation found anywhere in the State. It also contends that sufficient minimum contacts existed as required by the due process clause to constitutionally justify jurisdiction.

We affirm.

Chandler filed an action against Trus Joist to recover certain equipment valued at $1,855 which was leased to Trus Joist under a May 7, 1974, lease, to recover $4,654.82 in past due monthly rental payments, and to recover $300 in attorney's fees. Examination of the lease at issue here reveals that the lessor was listed as Trus Joist Corporation of 6820 Orange Thorpe Avenue, Buena Park, California, and the lessee as Chandler Leasing Division Pepsico Leasing Corporation of 101 Hartwell Avenue, Lexington, Massachusetts. The supplier of the equipment was a California corporation. Service of process was made upon Trus Joist at 619 Milwaukee Avenue, Glenview, Illinois, by serving a copy of the complaint with Bob Erbach, an agent of the corporation.

Trus Joist filed a special and limited appearance and moved to dismiss the cause on the ground that there were insufficient contacts with the State of Illinois to subject it to the in personam jurisdiction of the Illinois courts>. In support of its motion to dismiss, Trus Joist filed the affidavit of Dean Davis, the division manager of Trus Joist which stated that: (1) Trus Joist is a foreign corporation incorporated in Nevada with its principal place of business in Idaho; (2) Trus Joist manufactures structural components used in the construction industry; however, it has no manufacturing facilities in Illinois; (3) Trus Joist's only contact with Illinois is six salesmen who solicit orders to purchase its structural components; and (4) the lease from which the present action arises was negotiated in California and executed in California. In addition to these facts, we note that the record discloses that Trus Joist owns no property in Illinois and is not licensed to do business in Illinois. On November 27, 1979, the trial court dismissed the complaint for want of jurisdiction. It is from this order that the plaintiff Chandler brings its timely filed appeal.

The following statutory authority is relevant to this appeal. Section 13.3 provides in pertinent part as follows:

"A private corporation may be served (1) by leaving a copy of the process with its registered agent or any officer or agent of said corporation found anywhere in the State * * *." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 110, par. 13.3.)

Section 16 provides in pertinent part as follows:

"(1) Personal service of summons may be made upon any party outside the State. If upon a * * * person who has submitted to the jurisdiction of the courts> of this State, it shall have the force and effect of personal service of summons within this State; * * *." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 110, par. 16.)

Section 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 * * *." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 110, par. 17.

The question which we must reach in this appeal is whether Trus Joist was amenable to process in Illinois because of its activities here. Chandler not only asserts that Trus Joist's solicitation of orders in Illinois alone justifies jurisdiction based on the "doing business" requirement of section 13.3 but also asserts that the defendant's activities go beyond mere solicitation as established by the affidavit of Dean Davis which states that the defendant's sales force solicits orders to purchase the structural components manufactured by Trus Joist. The defendant argues that the trial court properly dismissed the complaint for want of in personam jurisdiction either on the basis of section 17(1)(a) of the Illinois long-arm statute (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 110, par. 17(1)(a)) or section 13.3 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 110, par. 13.3). It is alleged that section 17's requirement that the cause of action must arise from the business transacted in Illinois was not met in the instant case in that it is uncontroverted that the plaintiff's cause of action did not arise out of any solicitation in Illinois nor was the lease either negotiated, executed, or to be performed in Illinois. The defendant further maintains that it was not doing business in Illinois by employing six sales persons to solicit orders for it and, therefore, maintains that section 13.3 is inapplicable.

• 1 In personam jurisdiction over a foreign corporation may be obtained either by sections 16 and 17 or section 13.3 service. (Braband v. Beech Aircraft Corp. (1978), 72 Ill.2d 548, 382 N.E.2d 252, cert. denied (1979), 442 U.S. 928, 61 L.Ed.2d 296, 99 S.Ct. 2857; Lindley v. St. Louis-San Francisco Ry. Co. (7th Cir. 1968), 407 F.2d 639; Magnaflux Corp. v. Foerster (N.D. Ill. 1963), 223 F. Supp. 552.) The distinction between these ...


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