United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
March 26, 2004.
SUBURBAN CAPITAL CORPORATION, a Delaware corporation, Plaintiff,
FORTIS ENTERPRISES, INC., a Nevada corporation; JAMES BAR, an individual; JAMES BAR & ASSOCIATES, Defendants
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN W. DARRAH, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff, Suburban Capital Corporation ("SCC"), filed suit against
the Defendants, Fortis Enterprises, Inc., James Bar, and James Bar &
Associates ("JBA"), seeking recovery of damages pursuant to an alleged
oral contract. SBC also seeks to enjoin Fortis from acquiring JBA. Before
the Court is JBA's Motion to Dismiss the Complaint for lack of personal
Plaintiff has the burden of establishing a prima facie case of
personal jurisdiction. See Steel Warehouse of Wise., Inc. v.
Leach, 154 F.3d 712, 714 (7th Cir. 1998). When deciding whether the
plaintiff has made a necessary showing, a court can look to affidavits
and exhibits submitted by each party. Turnock v. Cope, 816 F.2d 332,
333 (7th Cir. 1987). When determining whether the plaintiff has met
the burden of establishing a prima facie showing of
jurisdiction, jurisdictional allegations in the complaint are taken as
true, unless controverted by the defendant's affidavits or exhibits. The
remaining facts come from the declarations and exhibits submitted by the
parties. All factual disputes must be resolved in favor of the plaintiff.
In diversity actions, a federal court has personal jurisdiction over a
non-resident defendant only if a court of the state in which the federal
court sits would have personal jurisdiction. Dehmlow v. Austin
Fireworks, 963 F.2d 941, 945 (7th Cir. 1992) (citation omitted). A
determination of whether an Illinois court would have jurisdiction
requires an examination of three sources of law: "(1) state statutory
law, (2) state constitutional law, and (3) federal constitutional law."
RAR, Inc. v. Turner Diesel Ltd., 107 F.3d 1272, 1276 (7th Cir.
Under Illinois law, a court can have personal jurisdiction over a
non-resident via the state's long-arm statute. 735 ILCS § 5/2-209.
The statute permits the exercise of jurisdiction over claims that arise
out of a number of enumerated acts, such as transacting any business
within Illinois. 735 ILCS § 5/2-209(a)(1), In addition, personal
jurisdiction is proper against any corporation doing business within
Illinois. 735 § ILCS 5/2-209(b)(4). The statute also states that an
Illinois court may exercise jurisdiction on any basis permitted by the
state or federal constitution. 735 ILCS § 5/2-209(c). Therefore, the
statute authorizes the exercise of personal jurisdiction by the Illinois
courts to the fullest constitutional limit; and the statutory analysis
collapses into a two-prong analysis: one based on the Illinois
Constitution and one based on the United States Constitution.
RAR, 107 F.3d. at 1276.
"Illinois courts have given little guidance as to how state due process
protection differs from federal protection in the context of personal
jurisdiction." RAR, 107 F.3d at 1276. The Due Process Clause of
the United States Constitution permits an Illinois court to exercise
jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant only if the defendant has
"certain minimum contacts with [the 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 (1945) (quoting Milliken v. Meyer,
311 U.S. 457, 463 (1940)); Neuman & Assoc. v. Florabelle
Flowers, 15 F.3d 721, 725 (7th Cir. 1994). This determination
depends on whether the plaintiff asserts specific or general jurisdiction
against the defendant. RAR, 107 F.3d at 1277.
Specific jurisdiction "refers to jurisdiction over a defendant in a
suit `arising out of or related to the defendant's contacts with the
forum.'" RAR, 107 F.3d at 1277 (quoting Helicopteros
Nacionales de Columbia, S.A. v. Hall, 486 U.S. 408 (1984)). To
determine whether specific jurisdiction exists, a defendant must have
"purposefully established minimum contacts within [Illinois];" and those
contacts must make personal jurisdiction reasonable and fair under the
circumstances. Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 474
(1985). Defendant must have "purposely availed" itself of the privilege
of conducting activities within the forum state, invoking the benefits
and protections of its laws such that they would "reasonably anticipate
being haled into court there." Asahi-Metal Indus. Co. v. Superior
Court, 480 U.S. 102, 119 (1987).
Plaintiff must satisfy two elements for specific jurisdiction: (1) the
plaintiff must show that the defendant is amenable to service of process;
and (2) the plaintiff must establish that haling the defendant into court
is consistent with the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause.
LFG, LLC. v. Zapata Corp., 78 F. Supp.2d 731, 734 (N.D. Ill.
On the other hand, "[g]eneral jurisdiction . . . is for suits neither
arising out of nor related to the defendant's contacts, and it is
permitted only where the defendant has `continuous and systematic general
business contacts' with the forum state." RAR, 107 F.3d at 1277.
Therefore, general jurisdiction is a broader form of personal
jurisdiction and requires the defendant to have even more contacts with
the forum state than is required to meet the test for specific
The facts, for the purposes of this motion, are as follows. JBA is a
engaged in the business of construction and renovation. In or about
September 2003, Fortis, a Nevada corporation with offices in Florida,
entered into an oral agreement with SCC, a Delaware corporation doing
business in Illinois, for consulting services consisting of business
combination introductions and advice. SCC introduced Fortis to JBA.
Fortis is in the process of closing on a business combination with JBA.
Fortis has not payed SCC pursuant to its oral agreement. As a result, SCC
seeks to compel Fortis to pay the $350,000 required by the oral agreement
or, in the alternative, enjoin Fortis from closing on the JBA acquisition
until SCC is paid.
SCC provided no response brief to suggest why jurisdiction is proper in
this Court. The complaint alleges no contacts between JBA and Illinois,
and there are no allegations in the complaint to support either general
or specific jurisdiction. Furthermore, there are no allegations in the
complaint to suggest that JBA availed itself of the privilege of doing
business in Illinois or created the expectation that it would be haled
into court and required to defend itself in Illinois. Based on the above,
JBA is dismissed from the complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction.
For the foregoing reasons, JBA's Motion to Dismiss is granted.
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