United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
April 7, 2004.
AIT WORLDWIDE LOGISTICS, INC., Plaintiff
RAMP LOGIC, INC., Defendant
The opinion of the court was delivered by: WAYNE ANDERSEN, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on defendant Ramp Logic, Inc.'s motion
to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) and for improper venue pursuant to Rule 12(b)(3)
or, in the alternative, for a change of venue. For the following
reasons, the motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction is
granted. The motion for improper venue or, in the alternative, for a
change of venue is denied as moot
Plaintiff AIT Worldwide Logistics, Inc. ("AIT") is an Illinois
corporation with its principle place of business in Itasca, Illinois. AIT
is in the business of providing freight and shipping services. Ramp Logic
is a California corporation with its principal place of business in
Southern California, Ramp Logic is in the business of manufacturing ramps
and skateboard equipment.
AIT has filed a two count amended complaint against Ramp Logic alleging
breach of contract and unjust enrichment. AIT alleges that it entered
into a contract with Ramp Logic to provide shipping services, and
pursuant to that contract, AIT states that it provided shipping services to Ramp Logic for which Ramp Logic has failed to pay. Ramp
Logic now seeks to dismiss AIT's amended complaint for lack of personal
When a defendant files a motion to dismiss a case for lack of personal
jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating the
existence of personal jurisdiction over the defendant. RAR, Inc. v.
Turner Diesel, Ltd., 107 F.3d 1272, 1276 (7th Cir. 1997). In assessing
such a motion, the allegations in the complaint are to be taken as true
unless controverted by a defendant's affidavit, and any conflicts are to
be resolved in favor of plaintiff. Turnock v. Cope, 816 F.2d 332, 333
(7th Cir. 1987).
This Court cannot exercise jurisdiction over a defendant if it is
improper under either the United States or Illinois Constitution. Brandon
Apparel Group, Inc. v. Quitman Mfg. Co. Inc., 42 F. Supp.2d 821 (N.D.
Ill. 1999). Because "there is no operative difference between the limits
imposed by the Illinois Constitution and the federal limitations on
personal jurisdiction," Hyatt Intern. Corp. v. Coco, 302 F.3d 707, 715
(7th Cir. 2002) (citation omitted), this Court will address a single due
process inquiry. Janmark, Inc. v. Reidy, 132 F.3d 1200, 1202 (7th Cir.
1997). The United States Constitution's limitation on the exercise of
personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant is through the due
process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment RAR, 107 F.3d at 1277. In order
for a court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a non-resident
defendant, due process requires that the defendant have "certain minimum
contacts with [the state] such that the maintenance of the suit does not
offend `traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.'" Id.,
quoting International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945). A court can acquire personal jurisdiction over a defendant
through either general or specific jurisdiction.
A defendant is subject to general jurisdiction in Illinois only when it
is either domiciled in Illinois, Euromarket Designs, Inc. v. Crate &
Barret Ltd., 96 F. Supp.2d 824, 833 (N.D. Ill. 2000), or when "the
defendant has continuous and systematic general business contacts with
the forum." MR, Inc., 107 F.3d at 1277 (citation and internal quotations
omitted). AIT has not alleged that Ramp Logic has any offices or
employees in Illinois or that Ramp Logic has continuous and systematic
business contacts with Illinois. Thus, there is no basis for this Court
to exercise general jurisdiction over Ramp Logic.
Alternatively, a defendant is subject to specific jurisdiction when it
has "purposefully established minimum contacts with the forum State."
Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 476-77 (1985). In
determining whether a defendant has sufficient minimum contacts with
Illinois, courts should consider whether the defendant could "reasonably
anticipate being hauled into court" in Illinois. World-Wide Volkswagen
Corp. v. Woodsen, 444 U.S. 286, 297 (1980). "[An] out-of-state party's
contract with an in-state party is alone not enough to establish the
minimum contacts." RAR, Inc., 107 F.3d at 1277.
In its amended complaint, AIT alleges that Ramp Logic solicited AIT's
services through a telephone call to AIT's offices in Illinois and that
all negotiations, correspondence and telephone conversations in
furtherance of the contractual relationship between the parties took
place in their respective offices. AIT also alleges that all of the
invoices related to the contract were generated in Illinois and mailed to
Ramp Logic from AIT's Illinois office. However, no services were
performed in Illinois. Other than these facts, no other contacts with
Illinois were alleged. The facts alleged in AIT's amended complaint are not sufficient to
carry AIT's burden to establish specific jurisdiction. In Federated
Rural Elec. Inc. Corp. v. Inland Power & Light Co., 18 F.3d 389
(7th Cir. 1994), the Seventh Circuit rejected similar allegations as
supportive of personal jurisdiction over the defendant, holding that
"making telephone calls and mailing payments into the forum state are
insufficient bases for jurisdiction." 18 F.3d at 395-96.
Likewise in Stericycle, Inc. v. Sanford, 2002 WL 31856720 (N.D. Ill.
Dec. 20, 2002), the defendant argued that the court did not have personal
jurisdiction over it due to the following factors: (1) all negotiations
consisted of telephone calls and facsimile transmissions and did not take
place in person in Illinois; (2) although the agreement was drafted by the
plaintiff in Illinois, the defendant reviewed, revised and executed the
contract in Pennsylvania; (3) all of the assets subject to the contract
were located outside of Illinois; and (4) the contract required no
performance in Illinois. 2002 WL 31856720, at *6. The court agreed that it
did not have any personal jurisdiction over the defendant, holding:
Viewing the contacts in their totality, the court
cannot say that the [defendants] had such contacts as
to make it foreseeable that they would be subject to
suit in Illinois. While [defendant] initiated the
discussions concerning the . . . Agreement, "[t]he
constitutionality of jurisdiction does not turn on
which party started it."
* * *
While the [defendants] did have frequent telephone and
facsimile contact with [plaintiff] in Illinois, these
communications related to the contract which was to be
performed entirely outside of Illinois, a factor
weighing against personal jurisdiction. Moreover, the
[defendants] never traveled to Illinois in negotiating
the contract, did not execute any part of the contract
in Illinois and none of the Assets were located in
* * *
If the court were to find personal jurisdiction it
would, in essence, be simply asserting personal
jurisdiction because an out-of-state party negotiated
a contract with an in-state party. AS the Supreme
Court noted in Burger King, however, contacts that result from such a contract are, in
and of themselves, not sufficient to rise to the
level of minimum contacts necessary for personal
Id at *6-7 (citations omitted). Similarly, in this case, ATT has failed
to allege sufficient facts to support a finding of personal jurisdiction
over Ramp Logic. The facts alleged by AIT to support a finding of
specific jurisdiction are precisely the same factors that were considered
and rejected by the courts in Federated and Stericycle as patently
insufficient for purposes of personal jurisdiction. Thus, there is no
basis for this Court to exercise specific jurisdiction over Ramp Logic.
For all of the foregoing reason, Ramp Logic's motion to dismiss for
lack of personal jurisdiction is granted. The motion for improper venue
or, in the alternative, for a change of venue is denied as moot.
It is so ordered.
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