ruling only increases the uncertainty surrounding the applicability of the fiduciary shield doctrine in Tilley's case. Therefore, rather than grapple with a thorny jurisdictional issue involving a legal doctrine that continues to evolve, this court will initially examine the question of venue. Ultimately, the court need not resolve the difficult issue of personal jurisdiction because Schubert has chosen an inappropriate venue for his lawsuit.
Federal jurisdiction over Schubert's complaint rests entirely on diversity of citizenship. Consequently, to maintain an action in federal court, Schubert may bring suit "only in the judicial district where all plaintiffs or all defendants reside, or in which the claim arose." 28 U.S.C. § 1391(a). Schubert does not reside in the Northern District of Illinois; neither do the two defendants.
Thus, Schubert can bring suit in this court only if his claims arose in this district.
When analyzing the question of where a claim arose, federal courts have employed a variety of tests.
In recent years, however, most courts (including this one) have adopted a "weight of contacts" test for determining the site where a claim arose. See, e.g., Commercial Lighting Products, Inc. v. United States District Court, 537 F.2d 1078 (9th Cir. 1976); Heller Financial, Inc. v. Shop-A-Lot, Inc., 680 F. Supp. 292 (N.D. Ill. 1988); Coface v. Optique du Monde, Ltd., 521 F. Supp. 500 (S.D.N.Y. 1980); Oce-Industries, Inc. v. Coleman, 487 F. Supp. 548 (N.D. Ill. 1980); B.J. McAdams, Inc. v. Boggs, 426 F. Supp. 1091 (E.D. Pa. 1977). The "weight of contacts" test entails "an examination of the defendant's contacts with the various fora related to the plaintiff's cause of action. The plaintiff's claim arises (and venue is therefore proper) in the forum in which the defendant's contacts are most significant." Heller Financial, 680 F. Supp. at 294-95. Applying this test to the instant case, this court concludes that Schubert's various claims did not arise in Illinois. Defendants' only contact with Illinois consisted of Tilley's two-day meeting with Schubert in Schaumburg in October 1986. Although the parties may have formed a contract in Illinois, all of the other significant events pertaining to Schubert's contract claim occurred in Georgia. The alleged contract established Georgia as the site of the parties' employment relationship. Schubert moved to Georgia in order to perform his obligations under the contract. Moreover, defendants allegedly breached the contract in Georgia when they terminated Schubert without pay. As for Schubert's tort claim, while Tilley may have made certain misrepresentations in Illinois, the injury stemming from these alleged misrepresentations took place in Georgia when G & T terminated Schubert. Finally, Schubert's claim relating to unreimbursed expenses arises from events that happened in Georgia and South Carolina, not Illinois.
During the course of their alleged mistreatment of Schubert, defendants maintained more significant contacts with the state of Georgia than with any other forum. Consequently, Schubert's claims arose in Georgia. Based on this conclusion, the Northern District of Illinois cannot provide an appropriate venue for Schubert's suit. Because this lawsuit cannot properly proceed in this district, this court dismisses Schubert's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a).
For the foregoing reasons, after vacating its previous order dismissing this case for want of prosecution, this court grants defendants' motion to dismiss Schubert's complaint.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: August 7, 1989