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Yates v. Muir

OPINION FILED FEBRUARY 14, 1985.

JACK A. YATES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

DONALD S. MUIR, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Madison County; the Hon. George J. Moran, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE WELCH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant, Donald Muir, brings this interlocutory appeal from an order of the trial court denying his motion to quash service and process and dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. We granted leave to appeal pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 308 (87 Ill.2d R. 308). The two issues the trial court has identified for review are as follows:

"1. Whether or not an attorney licensed to practice in Kentucky who files or fails to file an appearance in the administrative hearing of a Federal Civil Service question in Chicago for an Illinois resident is doing business within the State of Illinois to subject said attorney to the jurisdiction of the Courts of Illinois.

2. Whether or not an attorney licensed to practice in Kentucky but representing an Illinois resident who fails to file a notice of appeal with a federal agency in an administrative hearing, pursuant to Civil Service Act, commits a tortious act within the State of Illinois."

We affirm. The facts are as follows:

Plaintiff, Jack Yates, a resident of the State of Illinois, filed a two-count complaint against Mr. Muir, alleging that defendant failed to adequately represent him in asserting a claim for disability retirement under the Federal Civil Service laws and regulations. The complaint alleged that defendant failed to file a timely appeal from an adverse decision of the Medical Director, Office of Personnel Management, Washington, D.C. The complaint further alleged that the appeal was to be filed in Chicago, and, as a result of the alleged malpractice, he was damaged in that he was deprived of valuable disability retirement rights and income he would otherwise have received. Yates alleged that it was the duty of Mr. Muir to file the appeal in Chicago within 20 days of the date of the decision of the Medical Director. Count I of the complaint was premised on negligence. Count II, stated as an alternative cause of action, was premised on breach of contract. The defendant was personally served with summons in Kentucky.

In the affidavit accompanying defendant's appearance and motion, Mr. Muir stated that he is a resident of Kentucky and has never resided in Illinois. Mr. Muir also stated that he is not licensed to practice law in Illinois and does not maintain an office in Illinois. In addition, the defendant avers that he transacted no business in Illinois and states that the alleged tortious act occurred outside the State of Illinois.

After a hearing, the trial court denied the motion to quash service and process. Thereafter, on motion of defendant to reconsider its order, the court again denied defendant's motion to quash summons on the ground that defendant transacted business in the State or committed a tortious act in the State under section 2-209 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

Section 2-209 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides, in pertinent part, the following:

"(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 arising from the doing of any such acts:

(1) The transaction of any business within this State;

(2) The commission of a tortious act within this State; * * *." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 110, par. 2-209.

• 1, 2 The Illinois Supreme Court has stated that questions of jurisdiction involve a two-step process: (1) Is the nonresident defendant's conduct within the meaning of section 2-209; and if so, (2) would exercise of jurisdiction over the nonresident defendant be prohibited by the due process clause. (Green v. Advance Ross Electronics Corp. (1981), 86 Ill.2d 431, 436-37, 427 N.E.2d 1203, 1206.) In Nelson v. Miller (1957), 11 Ill.2d 378, 143 N.E.2d 673, the court held that the long-arm statute was intended to expand personal jurisdiction over nonresident defendants to the full extent permitted by the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution. The court in Nelson stated that among the foundations of jurisdiction included is the interest that a State has in providing redress in its own courts against persons who inflict injuries upon, or otherwise incur obligations to, those within the ambit of the State's legitimate protective policy. (Nelson v. Miller (1957), 11 Ill.2d 378, 384, 143 N.E.2d 673, 676.) However, the court in later cases indicated that the long-arm statute will not necessarily be interpreted to reach the outer limits of due process. Green v. Advance Ross Electronics Corp. (1981), 86 Ill.2d 431, 427 N.E.2d 1203.

• 3 The determination as to what constitutes sufficient minimum contacts depends upon the facts of each case. (See Muffo v. Forsyth (1976), 37 Ill. App.3d 6, 9, 345 N.E.2d 149, 152.) Here, Mr. Yates is a resident of Illinois and works in Illinois. If Yates is going to suffer ...


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