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Taylor v. Lemans Corp.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division

October 15, 2013

JACK TAYLOR, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
LEMANS CORPORATION, a Foreign Corporation, MOOSE RACING, a Foreign Corporation, PARTS UNLIMITED, a Foreign Corporation, and GIBBS MOTOR CORPORATION, an Illinois Corporation, Defendants-Appellants.

Held [*]

The appellate court upheld the denial of defendants’ motion to transfer the venue of plaintiff’s product liability action for the injuries he suffered when the front tire on his motocross-style bike blew out upon landing after executing a jump, since the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that defendants did not establish that Cook County, the venue chosen by plaintiff, was inconvenient to them and that Bureau County, the scene of the accident, was more convenient to the parties.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 2012-L-6987; the Hon. Moira S. Johnson, Judge, presiding.

Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, of Chicago (Ronald W. Payne, of counsel), for appellants.

Kralovec, Jambois & Schwartz, of Chicago (Jeffrey C. Schwartz, of counsel), for appellee.

JUSTICE HARRIS delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Quinn and Justice Simon concurred in the judgment and opinion

OPINION

HARRIS JUSTICE

¶ 1 Defendants Lemans Corporation, Moose Racing, Parts Unlimited, and Gibbs Motor Corporation (collectively defendants) appeal from the order of the circuit court denying their motion to transfer plaintiff Jack Taylor's product liability complaint to another county on the grounds of forum non conveniens. On appeal, defendants contend the trial court erred in denying their motion to transfer where (1) it gave undue deference to Taylor's choice of forum; and (2) it incorrectly required defendants to show that each factor considered in the balancing test used to determine forum non conveniens strongly favored a transfer. For the foregoing reasons, we affirm.

¶ 2 JURISDICTION

¶ 3 The trial court's denial of a motion to transfer pursuant to the doctrine of forum non conveniens is the basis for an interlocutory appeal under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 306(a)(2) (eff. Feb. 16, 2011). The trial court denied the motion to transfer on December 7, 2012. Defendants filed their petition for leave to appeal on January 4, 2013. Accordingly, this court has jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 306(a)(2) and 306(c)(1) governing interlocutory appeals by permission. Ill. S.Ct. R. 306(a)(2), (c)(1) (eff. Feb. 16, 2011).

¶ 4 BACKGROUND

¶ 5 Taylor is a resident of Lewiston, Illinois, in Fulton County. He owned a motocross-style bike that he purchased in Iowa. On July 9, 2009, in East Peoria, Illinois, he purchased an aluminum rim tire with compliant spokes for the bike. On July 11, 2010, Taylor took his bike to the Sunset Ridge MX MotoCross course (Sunset Ridge) located in Walton, Illinois, in Bureau County. While riding the bike, Taylor performed a jump and upon landing the front tire blew out causing him to fall and suffer an injury. Taylor was taken to a nearby hospital in Princeton, Illinois, in Bureau County, for immediate treatment but the majority of his treatment and care took place in Peoria, Illinois, in Peoria County, with Dr. Piero Capecci of Great Plains Orthopedic. The bike is now located in Du Page County, Illinois.

¶ 6 Nick Spierowki of Farmington, Illinois, and Evan Palmer of Lewiston, Illinois, witnessed the accident. Both cities are located in Fulton County. Josh Pistal of Walnut, Illinois, also witnessed the accident. Walnut is located in Bureau County. Taylor's treating physician immediately after the accident was Dr. Gregg Davis, who practiced at Perry Memorial Hospital in Princeton, Illinois. Princeton is also located in Bureau County.

ΒΆ 7 On June 21, 2012, Taylor filed a defective product complaint in Cook County against defendants alleging strict liability, negligence, and breach of implied warranties. Defendants Lemans Corporation, Moose Racing, and Parts Unlimited are Wisconsin corporations with their principal place of business in Janesville, Wisconsin. Defendant Gibbs Motor Corporation is an ...


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