United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
CHARLES D. THOMAS, Executor of the Estate of Thelma V. Thomas, Deceased, Plaintiff,
GRANITE NURSING AND REHABILITATION CENTER, LLC, d/b/a Granite Nursing & Rehab Center; DTD HC, LLC; D&N, LLC; and AURORA CARES, LLC, d/b/a Tara Cares, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on the motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction filed by defendants DTD HC, LLC ("DTD") and D&N, LLC ("D&N") (Doc. 15). Plaintiff Charles D. Thomas has responded to the motion (Doc. 20), and DTD and D&N have replied to that response (Doc. 23).
I. Standard for Dismissal
When personal jurisdiction is challenged under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2), the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing personal jurisdiction over a defendant. Purdue Research Found. v. Sanofi-Synthelabo, S.A., 338 F.3d 773, 782 (7th Cir. 2003). If there are material facts in dispute regarding the Court's jurisdiction over a defendant, the Court must hold an evidentiary hearing at which the plaintiff must establish jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence. Id. (citing Hyatt Int'l Corp. v. Coco, 302 F.3d 707, 713 (7th Cir. 2002)). Alternatively, the Court may decide the motion to dismiss without a hearing based on the submitted written materials so long as it resolves all factual disputes in the plaintiff's favor. Purdue Research, 338 F.3d at 782 (citing RAR, Inc. v. Turner Diesel, Ltd., 107 F.3d 1272, 1276 (7th Cir. 1997)). If the Court consults only the written materials, the plaintiff need only make a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction. Purdue Research, 338 F.3d at 782 (citing Hyatt, 302 F.3d at 713). In this case, the Court consults only the written materials, resolving all factual disputes in Thomas' favor, and finds Thomas has not made a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction over DTD and D&N.
The written materials submitted establish the following relevant facts for the purposes of this motion.
At all relevant times, DTD and D&N each owned 50% of defendant Granite Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLC ("Granite Center"). While residing at and in the care of Granite Center, plaintiff's decedent, Thelma V. Thomas fell while trying to walk without enough assistance and was injured. Two days later she died from her injury. Plaintiff Thomas believes her death was due to Granite Center's negligence and has sued the defendants, including DTD and D&N, under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, 210 ILCS 45/3-601 & 602, the Illinois Survival Statute, 755 ILCS 5/27-6 et seq., and the Wrongful Death Act, 740 ILCS 180/1 et seq. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, 210 ILCS 45/3-601, plainly subjects the owners of nursing homes in Illinois to liability for the negligence of nursing home employees that injure residents of the nursing home.
DTD and D&N ask the Court to dismiss them from this case on the grounds that the Court does not have personal jurisdiction over them. They are New York limited liability companies with their principal places of business in New York. They do not operate, pay for the operation of or make loans to Granite Center although each is an equal owner of Granite Center. They do not conduct business, do work, have an office, have any agents or employees, own or lease property, or advertise in Illinois.
A federal court sitting in diversity, as the Court does in this case, looks to the personal jurisdiction law of the state in which the court sits to determine if it has jurisdiction. Hyatt Int'l Corp. v. Coco, 302 F.3d 707, 713 (7th Cir. 2002) (citing Dehmlow v. Austin Fireworks, 963 F.2d 941, 945 (7th Cir. 1992)). Thus, this Court applies Illinois law. Under Illinois law, a court has personal jurisdiction over a defendant if an Illinois statute grants personal jurisdiction and if the exercise of personal jurisdiction is permissible under the Illinois and United States constitutions. RAR, Inc. v. Turner Diesel, Ltd., 107 F.3d 1272, 1276 (7th Cir. 1997); Wilson v. Humphreys (Cayman), Ltd., 916 F.2d 1239 (7th Cir. 1990).
A. Illinois Statutory Law
Under Illinois law, the long-arm statute permits personal jurisdiction over a party to the extent allowed under the due process provisions of the Illinois and federal constitutions. 735 ILCS 5/2-209(c); Hyatt Int'l Corp. v. Coco, 302 F.3d 707, 714 (7th Cir. 2002); Central States, Se. & Sw. Areas Pension Fund v. Reimer Express World Corp., 230 F.3d 934, 940 (7th Cir. 2000). Therefore, whether the Court has jurisdiction over a defendant depends on whether such jurisdiction is permitted by federal and state constitutional standards.
B. Illinois Constitutional Law
The Illinois Constitution's due process guarantee, Ill. Const. art. I, § 2, permits the assertion of personal jurisdiction "when it is fair, just, and reasonable to require a nonresident defendant to defend an action in Illinois, considering the quality and nature of the defendant's acts which occur in Illinois or which affect interests located in Illinois." Rollins v. Ellwood, 565 N.E.2d 1302, 1316 (Ill. 1990). When interpreting these principles, a court may look to the construction and application of the federal due process clause. Id. In fact, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has suggested that there is no operative difference between Illinois and federal due process limits on the exercise of personal jurisdiction. Hyatt Int'l Corp. v. Coco, 302 F.3d 707, 715 (7th Cir. 2002) (citing RAR, Inc. v. Turner Diesel Ltd., 107 F.3d 1272, 1276 (7th Cir. 1997)). The Court sees nothing in this case indicating that in this particular situation the federal and state standards should reach a different result. Therefore, ...