United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Rock Island Division
BRADFORD VICTOR-ADAMS MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, an Illinois corporation, as subrogee of JUDITH and WAYNE ALLEN, Plaintiff,
ELECTROLUX HOME PRODUCTS, INC., an Ohio corporation, and MIDEA USA, INC., a New Jersey corporation, Defendants.
DARROW CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant Midea USA, Inc.'s (“Midea
USA”) motion to dismiss, ECF No. 11, Plaintiff Bradford
Victor-Adams Mutual Insurance Company as subrogee of Judith
and Wayne Allen's (“Bradford”) Second Amended
Complaint (“SAC”), ECF No. 5, and Midea USA's
Motion for Leave to File Reply, ECF No. 18. For the reasons
that follow, the motions are GRANTED.
April 20, 2017, a Frigidaire-branded dehumidifier ignited and
burned in Judith and Wayne Allen's home causing
significant smoke and fire related property damage. Bradford
paid the Waynes more than $75, 000 for the damage caused by
the defective humidifier and now seeks reimbursement from the
responsible party. Bradford asserts diversity
jurisdiction-all parties are citizens of different states and
the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000, see 28
U.S.C. § 1332(a)-and alleges strict products liability
and negligence counts against Defendant Electrolux Home
Products, Inc. and Midea USA. Midea USA now seeks dismissal
of Bradford's claims, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(2) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, arguing it is not subject
to personal jurisdiction-general or specific-in Illinois. Br.
Supp. Mot. Dismiss 2, ECF No. 11. Bradford argues the Court
has personal jurisdiction over Midea USA, and in the
alternative, requests an opportunity to conduct
jurisdictional discovery to further bolster its claim. Resp.
Mot. Dismiss 11-13, ECF No. 16.
Motion to Dismiss
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) provides for dismissal where
a court lacks personal jurisdiction over the defendant.
“District courts exercising diversity jurisdiction
apply the personal jurisdiction rules of the state in which
they are located.” Philos Techs., Inc. v. Philos
& D, Inc., 802 F.3d 905, 912 (7th Cir. 2015). The
Illinois long-arm statute provides that “[a] court may
. . . exercise jurisdiction on any . . . basis now or
hereafter permitted by the Illinois Constitution and the
Constitution of the United States.” 735 ILCS
5/2-209(c). The parties do not indicate the state's
constitutional standards, as applied to this case, differ
from federal law so the Court evaluates Midea USA's
contacts under the federal due process limitations. See
Hyatt Int'l Corp. v. Coco, 302 F.3d 707, 715-16 (7th
Cir. 2002); Russell v. SNFA, 987 N.E.2d 778, 785
(Ill. 2013) (“[T]here have been no decisions from th[e]
[Illinois Supreme] [C]ourt or the appellate court identifying
any substantive difference between Illinois due process and
federal due process on the issue of a court's exercising
personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant.”).
personal jurisdiction inquiry turns on “the
defendant's relationship to the forum [s]tate.”
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of Cal., S.F.
Cty., 137 S.Ct. 1773, 1779 (2017). “[T]he
defendant must have minimum contacts with the forum state
such that the maintenance of the suit does not offend
traditional notions of fair play and substantial
justice.” Hyatt Int'l Corp., 302 F.3d at
716 (quotation marks omitted). “Personal jurisdiction .
. . restricts judicial power not as a matter of sovereignty,
but as a matter of individual liberty, for due process
protects the individual's right to be subject only to
lawful power.” J. McIntyre Mach., Ltd. v.
Nicastro, 564 U.S. 873, 884 (2011) (quotation marks
are two types of personal jurisdiction, general and specific.
Bristol-Myers, 137 S.Ct. at 1780. “A court
with general jurisdiction may hear any claim against
that defendant, ” id., though “only a
limited set of affiliations with a forum” suffice for
this “all-purpose” jurisdiction, Daimler AG
v. Bauman, 571 U.S. 117, 137 (2014) (indicating that a
corporation is subject to general jurisdiction in the state
where it is incorporated and where its principal place of
business is located). For “foreign (sister-state or
foreign country) corporations” to be subject to general
jurisdiction, their contacts with the forum state must be
“so continuous and systematic as to render them
essentially at home in the forum State.” Goodyear
Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 564 U.S. 915,
919 (2011) (quotation marks omitted).
specific personal jurisdiction to exist, the plaintiff must
demonstrate that the defendant purposefully availed itself of
the privileges of the forum state by “follow[ing] a
course of conduct directed at the society or economy existing
within the jurisdiction of a given sovereign, so that the
sovereign has the power to subject the defendant to judgment
concerning that conduct.” J. McIntyre Mach.,
Ltd., 564 U.S. at 884. “[S]pecific jurisdiction is
confined to adjudication of issues deriving from, or
connected with, the very controversy that establishes
jurisdiction.” Bristol-Myers, 137 S.Ct. at
1780 (quotation marks omitted). The Seventh Circuit has
established the following requirements:
(1) the defendant must have purposefully availed himself of
the privilege of conducting business in the forum state or
purposefully directed his activities at the state; (2) the
alleged injury must have arisen from the defendant's
forum-related activities; and (3) the exercise of
jurisdiction must comport with traditional notions of fair
play and substantial justice.
Felland v. Clifton, 682 F.3d 665, 673 (7th Cir.
2012) (citations omitted).
complaint need not recite facts alleging personal
jurisdiction. Sanofi-Synthelabo, S.A., 338 F.3d at
782. “However, once the defendant moves to dismiss the
complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) for
lack of personal jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears the burden
of demonstrating the existence of jurisdiction.”
Id. A defendant may support his motion with
affidavits. Nelson by Carson v. Park Indus., Inc.,
717 F.2d 1120, 1123 (7th Cir. 1983). If he does so, the
plaintiff “must similarly submit affirmative
evidence.” Matlin v. Spin Master Corp., 921
F.3d 701, 705 (7th Cir. 2019). When the court relies only on
the written submissions, a plaintiff “need only make
out a prima facie case of personal jurisdiction.”
Sanofi-Synthelabo,S.A., 338 F.3d at 782
(quotation marks omitted). Under this standard, all conflicts
in the affidavits or supporting ...