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Eunice Randolph v. North Star Capital Acquisition

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION


December 20, 2010

EUNICE RANDOLPH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NORTH STAR CAPITAL ACQUISITION, LLC, A MINNESOTA LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, AND NATIONAL MANAGEMENT RECOVERY CORP., A FLORIDA CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM ORDER

This Court's December 6, 2010 memorandum order ("Order") vacated the earlier dismissal of this action, to allow counsel for plaintiff Eunice Randolph ("Randolph") to direct a transfer of the action to another judicial district if so desired. As the earlier November 30, 2010 order dismissing the action had noted, Randolph had no connection at all with this judicial district (other than what may well be a venue-irrelevant fact that the law firm acting as her counsel, which characterizes itself as "providing low-cost legal services to the public" in "a nationwide program," is located here in Chicago)*fn1 . Nor did either of the defendants conduct any business at all in this judicial district having to do with collection efforts directed toward Randolph.

On the December 17 date specified in the Order for a response by Randolph's counsel, he filed a Motion To Reconsider that elaborated on the "nationwide program" referred to in the preceding paragraph. It appears that Chicago Legal Clinic, Inc. ("Clinic") has existed for nearly three decades "to help with the legal needs of underserved and disadvantaged communities in the Chicago area," commendable services that according to the current filing were rendered to more than 17,000 clients last year. But the Clinic's "nationwide program," though it is also Chicago-based, acts on behalf of people with no Chicago connection at all -- Randolph, for example, is a resident of Madisonville, Kentucky, and the collection efforts by the two defendants were directed to her there.

As for the law firm that is acting for Randolph in this action, it describes itself as frequently the beneficiary of a referral from that nationwide program -- its current memorandum says that it is "not, in any way, part of the CLC or LASPD." In this Court's view, though it should not be misunderstood as holding any brief for the kind of debtor pursuit described in the Complaint, there is really no justification for the Clinic's attorney -- acting for the nationwide program -- writing a letter that injects himself into the situation and then seeking to transmute a follow-up response to that letter into an Illinois-based lawsuit.*fn2

In sum, this is not a case that calls for according deference to Randolph's choice of forum, created by such artificiality. In the current motion her counsel requests that the action be transferred to the Western District of Kentucky if this Court retains its original view after considering plaintiff's arguments, and this Court so orders.*fn3


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