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McAdams v. Daedong Industrial Co. Ltd.

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 3, 2019

DAEDONG INDUSTRIAL CO. LTD. d/b/a Kioti Tractor Division, Defendant.



         This matter comes before the Court on the motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) filed by defendant Daedong Industrial Co. Ltd. d/b/a Kioti Tractor Division (“Daedong Industrial”) (Doc. 9). Daedong Industrial, a South Korean corporation with its principle place of business in South Korea, argues that it is not subject to the Court's jurisdiction. Plaintiffs James McAdams (“McAdams”) and Jo Ann McAdams have responded to the motion (Doc. 21). Following limited jurisdiction discovery, the parties filed supplemental briefs in support of their positions (Docs. 46 & 47).

         I. Background

         This case arose after McAdams was injured on August 18, 2016, while working on a tractor owned by his employer Krause and Son, Inc., doing business as Prairie Land Power. McAdams, a sales manager, was preparing a Kioti tractor that had a front-end loader fitted with a quick attach plate. The quick attach plate was used to secure various universal skid-steer attachments to the loader. The tractor McAdams was preparing had a grapple attachment attached to the front-end loader's hydraulic arms using the quick attach plate. McAdams noticed the grapple was not working properly, so he attempted to fix it by raising the front-end loader arms. When the hydraulic arms were fully extended, the grapple detached from the quick attach plate and fell on McAdams. He was severely injured.

         In the Circuit Court for the Seventh Judicial Circuit, Jersey County, Illinois, the plaintiffs sued in separate products liability lawsuits a number of parties potentially responsible for McAdams's injuries. In December 2017, they sued Daedong-USA d/b/a Kioti Tractor Division, the seller of the tractor and a subsidiary of Daedong Industrial, and Worksaver Inc., the manufacturer of the grapple attachment. In August 2018, the plaintiffs first learned through discovery that Daedong Industrial, Daedong-USA's parent company, manufactured the tractor and that Shindong Industrial Co. Ltd. (“Shindong”) manufactured the front-end loader and the quick attach plate. They then filed two new suits in Jersey County against Shindong and Daedong Industrial, respectively. Shindong removed its case to this Court as No. 18-cv-2199-JPG-RJD, and Daedong Industrial removed its case as No. 18-cv-2194-JPG-RJD, this case.

         Daedong Industrial believes this Court does not have personal jurisdiction to adjudicate the plaintiffs' claims against it and has, accordingly, moved to dismiss this case for lack of personal jurisdiction..

         II. Analysis

         A. Personal Jurisdiction

         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)); see uBID, Inc. v. GoDaddy Grp., Inc., 623 F.3d 421, 423-24 (7th Cir. 2010). 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).

         A federal court sitting in diversity, as this Court is, 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, 107 F.3d at 1276; Wilson v. Humphreys (Cayman), Ltd., 916 F.2d 1239 (7th Cir. 1990).

         1. 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.

         2. 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 yield a different result. ...

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