United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
PAUL AYALA and MOLINA HEALTHCARE OF WISCONSIN, INC., Plaintiffs,
JESUS MARTINEZ and STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY COMPANY, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
W. DARRAH, United States District Court Judge.
Paul Ayala, filed a Complaint in the Eastern District of
Wisconsin, alleging one count of common law-negligence and
one count of negligence per se against Defendants,
Jesus Martinez and State Farm Fire and Casualty Company. The
claims arose from an automobile collision that occurred on
March 1, 2013. Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss or for
Transfer of Venue. The Eastern District of Wisconsin denied
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss without ruling on the
merits and granted the Transfer of Venue. The case was
transferred to the Northern District of Illinois. Defendants
subsequently filed a Motion to Dismiss  pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons discussed below,
Defendants' Motion  is granted.
purposes of deciding this Motion, the following allegations
are accepted as true. Paul Ayala (“Ayala”) is a
resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Compl. ¶ 1.)
Involuntary Plaintiff Molina Healthcare of Wisconsin, Inc. is
an insurance provider licensed to do business in Wisconsin
and has its principal place of business in Long Beach,
California. (Id. ¶ 2.) Jesus Martinez
(“Martinez”) is a resident of Carpentersville,
Illinois. (Id. ¶ 3.) Defendant State Farm Fire
and Casualty Company is an insurance company licensed to
issue general-liability insurance policies in Wisconsin, with
its principal place of business in Bloomington, Illinois.
(Id. ¶ 4.)
March 1, 2013, Ayala and Martinez were involved in an
automobile accident that took place in Crystal Lake,
Illinois. (Id. ¶ 5). The accident was deemed to
be the fault of Martinez. (Id., ¶ 6). Plaintiff
suffered various injuries that required medical treatment,
including chiropractic care, emergency care, physical
therapy, and surgical intervention. (Id. at
¶¶ 8, 9). On January 27, 2016, Plaintiff filed his
Complaint in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. (Compl.)
Defendants moved for dismissal or, alternatively, a change in
venue. The Wisconsin district court denied the dismissal in
whole but granted the change in venue pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1406(a). (Dkt. 17.) The Wisconsin district court found
that venue was proper in Illinois under 28 U.S.C. §
1391(b)(1) and (2), as Martinez is a resident of Illinois and
a substantial part of the events occurred within Illinois.
Id. After the change in venue, Defendants filed the
present Motion to Dismiss .
12(b)(6) permits a defendant to move to dismiss a complaint
for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To survive a motion to
dismiss, a complaint must allege “enough facts to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause
of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). However,
plaintiffs are not required to “plead the elements of a
cause of action along with facts supporting each
element.” Runnion ex rel. Runnion v. Girl Scouts of
Greater Chicago & Nw. Indiana, 786 F.3d 510, 517
(7th Cir. 2015). Rather, the complaint must provide a
defendant “with ‘fair notice' of the claim
and its basis.” Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526
F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)
and Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). When evaluating a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court accepts the complaint's
well-pleaded factual allegations as true and draws all
reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56.
argue that this case should be dismissed with prejudice
because Illinois law applies and that the claims are barred
by the Illinois statute of limitations. Plaintiff responds
that the Wisconsin court transferred venue for the
convenience of the parties and that Wisconsin law
to Plaintiff's argument, the action could not have been
maintained in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The
Wisconsin district court transferred this cause of action to
the Northern District of Illinois pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1406(a) because the forum was improper: “this
District is not the proper venue for Mr. Ayala's
claims.” (Dkt. 17, p. 8). If a case is transferred
under § 1406(a), the transferee court must apply the law
of the state in which it sits. See Koutsoubos v.
Casanave, 816 F.Supp. 472, 475 (N.D. Ill. 1993)
(“. . . where an action was improperly filed in the
transferor court, the transferee court should apply its own
state's choice of law rules rather than those of the
transferor's state.”); and Johnson v. United
Airlines, Inc., No. 12 C 5842, 2013 WL 323404, at *2
(N.D. Ill. Jan. 25, 2013) (citing Gerena v. Korb,
617 F.3d 197, 204 (2d Cir. 2010); Lafferty v. St.
Riel, 495 F.3d 72, 76-77 (3d Cir. 2007)). Therefore,
Illinois law applies.
to Illinois law, a choice-of-law determination is required
when a difference in law makes a difference in the outcome.
Townsend v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 879 N.E.2d
893, 898 (Ill. 2007). The Illinois statute of limitations for
personal-injury claims is two years. 735 Ill. Comp. Stat.
5/13-202. The Wisconsin statute of limitations for
personal-injury claims is three years. Wisc. Stat. 893.54(1).
The accident took place on March 1, 2013; and the complaint
was filed on January 27, 2016. Plaintiffs action would be
barred under the Illinois statute of limitations but not the
Wisconsin statute of limitations. Therefore, a choice-of-law
determination is required.
Illinois choice-of-law rules, “the law of the place of
injury controls unless another state has a more significant
relationship with the occurrence and with the parties with
respect to the particular issue.” Townsend,
879 N.E.2d at 903. The place of injury is Illinois,
Defendants are located in Illinois, and no other state has a
more significant relationship with the occurrence. Therefore,
Illinois law applies. Plaintiffs Complaint was filed after
Illinois' two-year statute of limitations expired, and,
therefore, the action is barred.
reasons set forth above, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss