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Blake v. Colfax Corporation

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division

June 21, 2013

MENDY BLAKE and CHARLES BLAKE, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
COLFAX CORPORATION, a Corporation, and EDWARD WARREN, Defendants-Appellants.

Rule 23 Order filed May 3, 2013

Rule 23 Order withdrawn June 17, 2013.

Held [*]

In an action arising from a vehicle collision, the trial court properly denied defendants’ forum non conveniens motion to transfer the case to a neighboring county, since plaintiffs’ choice of forum is entitled to deference, the corporate defendant’s headquarters and the offices of the parties’ attorneys were in the chosen forum, the ease of access to evidence did not favor a transfer, any necessity of viewing the accident site in another county was insufficient to justify a transfer, and jury trials were conducted in nearly the same amount of time in the forums at issue.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 11-L-8090; Hon. John Kirby, Judge, presiding.

Hunt Law Group, LLC, of Chicago (Brian J. Hunt and Lindsay A. Watson, of counsel), for appellants.

Corboy & Demetrio, of Chicago (Daniel S. Kirschner, of counsel), for appellees.

Panel PRESIDING JUSTICE LAMPKIN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Hall and Reyes concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

LAMPKIN, PRESIDING JUSTICE

¶ 1 In this negligence action that arose from a vehicle collision, defendants moved to transfer the suit, which was filed in Cook County, to either Will or Du Page County under the doctrine of forum non conveniens. The circuit court denied defendants' motion, and this court granted defendants' petition for interlocutory appeal. On appeal, defendants contend that the total circumstances of this case strongly favored a transfer to Will County. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 3 Plaintiff Mendy Blake was driving her vehicle on February 9, 2010, and was injured when a van owned by defendant Colfax Corporation and driven by its employee, defendant Edward Warren, crossed the center line and crashed into plaintiff's oncoming car. According to the traffic crash report, the collision occurred in Will County on Genoa Road around the intersection of Wheeler Road in Plainfield, Illinois. This location is near the border between Will and Kendall Counties. According to defendants' discovery responses, Warren was driving from his home in Kendall County to a job located in Du Page County when the collision occurred. Defendants claimed that Warren normally kept the van at his home.

¶ 4 Mrs. Blake and her husband, plaintiff Charles Blake, resided in Plainfield, Will County. Mr. Blake, however, submitted an affidavit stating that he worked at 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza in Chicago, and a transfer from Cook County to either Will or Du Page County would cause substantial inconvenience, impede his ability to perform work before and after each trial day, and greatly impede his ability to meet with his attorneys and prepare in the days leading up to trial.

ΒΆ 5 The office and headquarters of Colfax Corporation, which was engaged in the business of lead abatement and asbestos removal, were located at 2441 North Leavitt Street, Chicago, Cook County. Although defendant Warren resided in Plainfield, Kendall County, he ...


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