law, the Seventh Circuit turned to federal due process law).
2. Federal Due Process
The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment limits when a state
court may assert personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant. Id.
Federal due process requires that the defendants have "certain minimum
contacts with [the forum state] such that the maintenance of the suit
does not offend "traditional notions of fair play and substantial
justice.'" International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316, 66
S.Ct. 154, 90 L.Ed. 95 (1945) (quoting Milliken v. Meyer, 311 U.S. 457,
61 S.Ct. 339, 85 L.Ed. 278 (1940)). Courts have typically considered the
due process analysis as a two-part inquiry: "(1) the court must determine
whether minimum contacts exist, and if so, (2) the court must determine
whether the exercise of personal jurisdiction comports with traditional
notions of fair play and substantial justice. Tingstol Co. v. Rainbow
Sates, Inc., 8 F. Supp.2d 1113, 1115 (N.D.Ill. 1998).
Minimum contacts are those acts by which the defendant has
"purposefully avail[ed] [himself] of the privilege of conducting
activities within the forum," Hanson v. Denckla, 357 U.S. 235, 253, 78
S.Ct. 1228, 2 L.Ed.2d 1283 (1958), such that he should "reasonably
anticipate being haled into court there." World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v.
Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297, 100 S.Ct. 559, 62 L.Ed.2d 490 (1980). If a
defendant has purposefully availed himself of the privilege of conducting
business within the state, he has enjoyed the benefits and protections of
that state's laws such that jurisdiction over him satisfies due process.
Hanson, 357 U.S. at 253, 78 S.Ct. 1228.
Subject to the limits of due process, a court may exercise two types of
personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant: general and
specific. What the minimum contacts standard means in a particular case
depends on whether the jurisdiction is general or specific. RAR, 107 F.3d
a. General jurisdiction
General jurisdiction arises when the nonresident defendant has
"continuous and systematic general business contacts" with the forum
state. Id. (citing Helicopteros Nacionales de Colombia, S.A. v. Hall,
466 U.S. 408, 416, 104 S.Ct. 1868, 80 L.Ed.2d 404 (1984)). This is a
fairly high standard requiring a great amount of contacts. Glass, 930 F.
Supp. at 338. In this case, plaintiff has not alleged that defendants
have had such continuous and systematic contacts with Illinois. However;
to the contrary, in their affidavits, defendants claim that (1) they have
never lived in Illinois; (2) they have never done business in Illinois;
(3) they have never had an office in Illinois; (4) they have never, prior
to the contract with plaintiff, made purchases for the hotel from
Illinois; (5) they have never owned property in Illinois; (6) they have
never been liable for taxes in Illinois; and (7) they have never
advertised, held a telephone listing or bank account in Illinois as
individuals or for the hotel. (Affs. of William T. Juliano ¶¶ 5-8;
William J. Juliano ¶¶ 5-8.) The court finds that defendants do not
have sufficient contacts with Illinois to warrant exercising jurisdiction
over them for matters unrelated to any contacts over the contract.
Accordingly, the court finds it has no general jurisdiction over
b. Specific jurisdiction
Specific jurisdiction arises when the defendants' contacts with the
forum state are related to the controversy underlying the litigation.
RAR, 107 F.3d at 1277 (citing Helicopteros, 466 U.S. at 414 n. 8, 104
S.Ct. 1868). In specific jurisdiction cases, the court must decide
whether a defendant has "`purposefully established minimum contacts
within the forum State' and consider whether, by traditional standards,
those contacts would make
personal jurisdiction reasonable and fair under the circumstances."
Id. (citing Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz,
471 U.S. 462, 476-77, 105 S.Ct. 2174, 85 L.Ed.2d 528 (1985)). In a breach
of contract action, "it is only the "dealings between the parties in
regard to the disputed contract' that are relevant to minimum contacts
analysis." Id. at 1278 (citing Vetrotex Certainteed Corp. v. Consolidated
Fiber Glass Prods. Co., 75 F.3d 147, 153 (3rd Cir. 1996)). "[A]n
out-of-state party's contract with an in-state party is alone not enough
to establish the requisite minimum contacts." Id. at 1277 (citing Burger
King, 471 U.S. at 474-75, 105 S.Ct. 2174).
Applying the above principles, the court finds that defendants have not
purposefully established minimum contacts with Illinois sufficient to
justify exercising specific jurisdiction over defendants. Plaintiff bears
the burden of establishing personal jurisdiction yet the only "contact"
that plaintiff alleges defendants have with Illinois is the contract.
First, plaintiff initiated any dealings between the parties. Second, the
contract was sent to New Jersey and was signed by the defendants in New
Jersey. Further, the defendants never traveled to Illinois for
negotiations or dealings with the plaintiff. In fact, there appears to
have been very little contact between the parties prior to the execution
of the contract. Finally, the subject goods of the contract — the
bathtub units — were shipped to and installed, at least partially,
in New Jersey. The only argument for personal jurisdiction is that the
goods were manufactured in Illinois. However, while the units were
manufactured in Illinois, they were not only delivered to New Jersey, but
were also installed — by the plaintiff — in New Jersey. "The
contract at issue in this case has no substantial connection with
Illinois (other than [plaintiffs] location there which alone is
insufficient to support jurisdiction)." Id. at 1279. Thus, defendants'
contacts with Illinois regarding this action do not warrart the court to
exercise specific jurisdiction over the defendants.
Defendants' contacts with Illinois do not rise to the level of "minimum
contacts" as required by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment.*fn1 Thus, the court finds that it has no personal
jurisdiction over defendants. Accordingly, defendants' motion to dismiss
for lack of personal jurisdiction is granted pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(2).
B. Transfer of Venue Under § 1404(a)
In order for the court to transfer this action to the District of New
Jersey, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404 (a), venue must be proper in
this court. 28 U.S.C. § 1404 (a). Because the court does not have
personal jurisdiction over defendants, venue is not proper in this court.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1391 (a)(3). However, if venue were proper in this
court, this court would have transferred this case to the District of New
Jersey for the following reasons: (1) venue is proper in New Jersey; (2)
defendants' place of business is in New Jersey; (3) the bathtub units
were delivered to New Jersey; (4) plaintiff or plaintiff's agent was to
install the units in defendants' hotel in New Jersey; (5) the fire which
damaged defendants' hotel — and may serve as a defense to the
contract claim and a counterclaim against plaintiff — occurred in
New Jersey; and (6) any witnesses with knowledge about the fire reside in
For the foregoing reasons, defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's
first amended complaint is granted.