Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

HAEDIKE v. KODIAK RESEARCH

December 21, 1992

EDWARD W. HAEDIKE, Plaintiff,
v.
KODIAK RESEARCH, LTD., a Canadian Company; BOMBARDIER-ROTAX, GmbH, an Austrian Company; and FRITZ HINTERMAYR, GmbH, BING-VERGASER-FABRIK, a German Company, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARVIN E. ASPEN

 MARVIN E. ASPEN, District Judge:

 Plaintiff Edward William Haedike brings this product liability action against Kodiak Research Ltd. ("Kodiak"), Bombardier-Rotax GMBH ("Rotax") and Fritz Hintermayer, GmbH, Bing-Vergaser-Fabrik (incorrectly sued as Bing Vergasser) ("Bing") for injuries he suffered in the crash of a Wizard ultralight aircraft, Model No. J-3BK440 in Mettawa, Illinois on June 8, 1991. Kodiak, Rotax and Bing each have filed motions to dismiss Haedike's complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2). Additionally, Kodiak has filed a motion for partial summary judgment, seeking dismissal of all claims against it grounded in the theory of strict liability. For the reasons set forth below, we deny Rotax and Bing's motions to dismiss. Kodiak's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction is granted, thus obviating the need to consider its motion for partial summary judgment.

 I. Background

 The allegations of the complaint and the additional submissions of the parties reveal the following facts. Rotax is an Austrian company, engaged in the business of designing, manufacturing, distributing and selling in the United States certain engines and engine packs for aviation use. During all relevant times, Kodiak, a Canadian company, was the exclusive distributor in the United States of Rotax engines and engine packs. Bing, a German corporation, engages in the business of designing and manufacturing carburetors to be incorporated into Rotax engines and engine packs.

 On June 22, 1992, Haedike filed suit against Kodiak, Rotax and Bing in the Circuit Court of Cook County, alleging negligence and strict liability in tort. Attorney Timothy J. Murphy filed on behalf of all defendants a document entitled "appearance and jury demand" on July 17, 1992. Additionally, on July 21, 1992, Murphy on behalf of Rotax filed a motion for an extension of time in which to answer or otherwise plead. On July 27, 1992, defendants removed the action to this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441.

 II. Waiver

 As a threshold matter, Haedike contends that defendants' actions during the pendency of the state court proceedings constitute a waiver of any objection to personal jurisdiction. Specifically, Haedike maintains that each defendant filed a "general appearance in state court prior to removal and, as defendants would not be able to contest personal jurisdiction in state court, they are prohibited from doing so in this forum.

 We begin by noting that Illinois courts applying Illinois law find waiver of jurisdiction more readily than federal courts employing the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Indeed, were the Federal Rules to apply to the present circumstance, we would be compelled to conclude that none of the defendants waived their respective rights to contest personal jurisdiction. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(1). However, contrary to Rotax's assention, *fn1" the Federal Rules do not guide our determination. True, some courts within this district have held that waiver of personal jurisdiction is governed by the Federal Rules and not Illinois law. See, e.g., Mallard v. Mallard, No. 90-3335, 1992 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2346, at *10 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 4, 1992); D'Attomo v. Derata Corp., No. 90-6072, 1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 433, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 10, 1991); Robinson v. Town of Madison, 752 F. Supp. 842, 845 (N.D. Ill. 1990). Nonetheless, in each of those cases plaintiffs' assertions of waiver were predicated on defendants' actions in the federal proceedings. Mallard, slip op. at *2-3 (diversity action which originated in federal court); D'Attomo, slip op. at *1-2 (action removed from state court, but plaintiff's waiver argument premised on defendants' general appearance in federal court); Robinson, 752 F. Supp. at 844-45 (diversity action which originated in federal court). In the instant action, Haedike's assertion of waiver is not based upon defendants' actions in this court, but rather upon their conduct in state court prior to removal. Although the parties have not cited, nor have we found, a case within this circuit addressing the question of which body of law governs the waiver issue under such circumstances, the impact of the above distinction was recently expounded upon by the Eighth Circuit. See Nationwide Eng'g & Control Sys., Inc. v. Thomas, 837 F.2d 345 (8th Cir. 1988). The Thomas court began by noting that "following removal, the action is governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Id. at 348 (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 81(c)). As such, a defendant may lose a defense through the operation of Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(g) or 12(h). Id. Likewise, and significant to the present circumstance, to the extent that a defense would not be available to a defendant in state court prior to removal, that defense is deemed waived in federal court without consideration of the Federal Rules. Id. The rationale behind this rule is that "after removal, the federal court takes up the case where the state court left off." Id. (citing Granny Goose Foods, Inc. v. Brotherhood of Teamsters, 415 U.S. 423, 436, 94 S. Ct. 1113, 1122, 39 L. Ed. 2d 435 (1974)). In other words, a defendant may not voluntarily submit to the jurisdiction of a state court and, upon an unwanted removal by the defendants, deny the jurisdictional reach of a federal court sitting in the same state. Any other result would amount to the countenance of inter-system forum shopping. Accordingly, the Eighth Circuit turned to Iowa law to determine if defendants' conduct in state court precluded them from contesting personal jurisdiction. Finding the court's analysis in Thomas persuasive, we turn to consider whether defendants waived under Illinois law their respective rights to contest personal jurisdiction.

 Section 2-301 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure provides in pertinent part:

 Prior to filing any other pleading or motion, a special appearance may be made either in person or by attorney for the purpose of objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the defendant. . . . Every appearance, prior to judgment, not in compliance with the foregoing is a general appearance.

 Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 110, P 2-301 (1989). Any action taken by a defendant which recognizes the case as in court will amount to a general appearance unless such action was for the sole purpose of objecting to jurisdiction. Lord v. Hubert, 12 Ill. 2d 83, 87, 145 N.E.2d 77, 80 (1957); Pecoraro v. Kesner, 217 Ill. App. 3d 1039, 1043-44, 578 N.E.2d 53, 55, 160 Ill. Dec. 874 (1st Dist. 1991). The rationale driving this rule is that "a person cannot, by his voluntary action, invite the court to exercise its jurisdiction and at the same time deny that jurisdiction exists." Lord, 12 Ill. 2d at 87, 145 N.E.2d at 80. Thus, to the extent that a defendant's actions constitute a general appearance, the defendant waives any objection to the exercise of jurisdiction over her person.

 In light of its submission of the "appearance and jury demand," coupled with the request for a continuance to answer or otherwise plead, there can be no doubt that Rotax entered a general appearance in the Circuit Court of Cook County. See Pecoraro, 217 Ill. App. 3d at 1045, 578 N.E.2d at 56 (filing of jury demand coupled with physical appearance requesting continuance amounts to general appearance). As such, Rotax has ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.