Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division
As Modified March 27, 2015.
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 13 L 005649. The Honorable Moira S. Johnson, Judge Presiding.
In an action filed in Illinois for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and tortious interference with prospective economic advantage arising from the publication of sensitive clinical information pertaining to plaintiff by a psychoanalyst who was a member of defendant psychological association that made a presentation at a conference held by defendant in which she used the information as an example, the trial court properly dismissed defendant's motion to dismiss the action based on forum non conveniens seeking to transfer the case to Venezuela, which was the residence of both plaintiff and the psychoanalyst but was also a forum that did not recognize plaintiff's cause of action, since the trial court did not abuse its discretion in balancing the relevant public and private interest factors.
For Appellant: Abram Moore, K& L Gates LLP, Chicago, Illinois.
For Appellee: Leon Zelechowski, Ltd., Chicago, Illinois.
JUSTICE GORDON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Palmer and Justice Reyes concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶2] I. Parties
[¶3] The plaintiff is a Venezuela resident who was a patient of psychoanalyst Alicia Leisse de Lustgarten (Ms. Leisse), who also lives and practices in Venezuela. At the time of the events that led to the filing of this lawsuit, plaintiff was a postgraduate student in clinical community psychology working as a clinical therapist at an agency dealing with abused women in Venezuela. There is no evidence that she has ever been in Chicago or in the United States.
[¶4] The defendant is a not-for-profit corporation incorporated in England and Wales, with its principal place of business in London, England. Its only contact with Illinois was a conference that it held in Chicago in May 2009 for mental health providers where Ms. Leisse, a member of the board of representatives of defendant, made a presentation and used plaintiff's unauthorized sensitive clinical material as an example, which defendant later published on the defendant's website in England without using plaintiff's name.
[¶5] II. Cause of Action
[¶6] Plaintiff filed this action against defendant for intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, claiming that as a direct result of the publication of plaintiff's sensitive clinical material, people in her community could easily identify her, causing her to withdraw from her professional community and suffer mental distress and anguish, creating a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.
[¶7] III. Posture of Case in Illinois
[¶8] After defendant filed a motion to dismiss based on forum non conveniens, seeking a transfer to Venezuela, the circuit court denied the motion. Defendant then filed a petition for leave to appeal pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 306(a)(2) (eff. Feb. 16, 2011), which this court granted, and this interlocutory appeal follows.
[¶10] This is an interlocutory appeal, taken pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 306. The rule provides in relevant part:
" (a) *** A party may petition for leave to appeal to the ...