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HUNTER DOUGLAS METALS v. EDWARD C. MANGE TRADING

June 21, 1984

HUNTER DOUGLAS METALS, INC., AN ILLINOIS CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EDWARD C. MANGE TRADING CO., A TEXAS CORPORATION, AND EDWARD C. MANGE, AN INDIVIDUAL, DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER

The case at bar involves allegations of breach of contract and tortious behavior against Edward C. Mange Trading Co. (Trading), a Texas corporation, and Edward C. Mange, an individual who resides in Texas. Before the Court is the defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, Alternatively, to Transfer Venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). For the reasons stated herein, the Motion to Dismiss or Transfer is denied.

The complaint of plaintiff Hunter Douglas Metals, Inc. (Hunter) is in eight counts which the complaint styles as "Causes of Action." The first count alleges that Mange and Trading tortiously interfered with the business relationships of Hunter and Ed Mange International (International), a corporate entity of which Mange is an officer which is not a party to this lawsuit. Counts two, three, four, and five allege that Trading breached its contract with Hunter and in so doing acted willfully, maliciously, and in wanton disregard of the rights of Hunter. The sixth count alleges that Mange tortiously interfered with the business relationships of Hunter and Trading so as to cause the breaches of contract alleged in the other counts. Counts seven and eight allege that Trading breached its contract with Hunter by delivering nonconforming goods, which were rejected by Hunter, and by thereafter failing to deliver any further goods.*fn1

I.

Mange argues that because he has had no contacts with Illinois sufficient to amount to the transaction of business in the state, this Court lacks jurisdiction over him. Mange admits that he was briefly present in Illinois, but only in a fiduciary capacity, and only after the dispute had arisen, not during the formation of the transaction out of which the dispute arose. While there may be merit to Mange's argument, this Court need not decide the issue as it is apparent that the allegations against Mange are allegations of tortious conduct which appear to have been committed in Illinois.

Under the Illinois Long-Arm Statute, one instance of tortious conduct is sufficient for the courts of this state to exercise jurisdiction over a defendant. According to the statute,

  (a) 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 or her personal
  representative, to the jurisdiction of the courts
  of this State as to any cause of action rising
  from the doing of any of such act;
  (2) The commission of a tortious act within this
  State . . .

Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 110, ¶ 2-209(a)(2)(1983).

In Gray v. American Radiator & Standard Sanitary Corp., 22 Ill.2d 432, 176 N.E.2d 761 (1961), the court held personal jurisdiction existed in Illinois over an Ohio manufacturer of a valve which was shipped to Pennsylvania for incorporation into a hot water heater which was then sold to an Illinois consumer in the regular course of commerce. In Illinois, the water heater exploded, causing injury to the plaintiff. According to the court, the key consideration as to whether, in light of the requirements of due process, it would be reasonable to require a defendant to litigate in the chosen forum, is whether the "act or transaction itself has a substantial connection with the State of the forum." 22 Ill.2d at 438, 176 N.E.2d 761.

In the case at bar, Mange contends that no personal jurisdiction exists in Illinois because any tortious acts he may have undertaken took place in Texas. This contention is made despite the fact that it is apparently conceded that the breaches of contract occurred in Illinois.

In support of his argument, Mange relies upon Green v. Advance Ross Electronics Corp., 86 Ill.2d 431, 56 Ill.Dec. 657, 427 N.E.2d 1203 (1981), in which the court held that the courts of Illinois had no jurisdiction where the only connection with the state was the diminution of the funds of a corporation organized or headquartered in Illinois. However, such reliance is misplaced as Green is plainly distinguishable from the case at bar.

In Green, the court noted that the place of a wrong is that place where the last event takes place which is necessary to render the actor liable. 86 Ill.2d at 437, 56 Ill.Dec. at 661, 427 N.E.2d at 1207. Applying this analysis, the Court found that Texas was the place where the tort had occurred as that was where the misappropriation of funds which formed the basis of the suit transpired. In so finding, the court noted that the diminution of plaintiff's funds in Illinois was too tenuous of a ...


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