IL LAW DEVELOPMENTS: So. Dist/IL rules in favor of def. on Daimler jurisdiction

Posted: 1/10/2017

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois has held that defendants who have registered to do business in the state of Illinois are not deemed to have consented to jurisdiction in the state of Illinois and such registration under the statute does not require that a company submit to the state courts' jurisdiction. Perez v. Air and Liquid Systems Corp., et al., Case No. 3:16-CV-00842-NJR-DGW (USDC, SD-IL, Dec. 2, 2016) icon Perez.pdf (196 KB). The court stated that the Daimler U.S. Supreme Court raised the bar on jurisdiction in Illinois and that one must look to the defendant corporations' overall business in the world and when compared to all of that, did the defendants' business dealings in Illinois truly make a "home" of Illinois. Some courts including the lower court in this case, have tried to rely on the defendant's registration to do business in the state as a basis for saying the defendant has submitted to jurisdiction of the Illinois courts. However, companies must register in the state to do any business; the question is how much business is the company doing as compared to anywhere else in the U.S. The federal court stated:

If mere registration and the accompanying appointment of an in-state agent-without an express consent to general jurisdiction-nonetheless sufficed to confer general jurisdiction by implicit consent, every corporation would be subject to general jurisdiction in every state in which it registered, and Daimler's ruling would be robbed of meaning by a back-door thief. . . . In Daimler, the Court rejected the idea that a corporation was subject to general jurisdiction in every state in which it conducted substantial business. Brown's interpretation of the Connecticut statute could justify the exercise of general jurisdiction over a corporation in a state in which the corporation had done no business at all, so long as it had registered.

The court further noted that the language of the Illinois statute that requires businesses to register with the state in order to do business in the state, does not include any language requiring that companies consent to jurisdiction. Consequently, it does not automatically follow that registering with the state is tantamount to consenting to jurisdiction. This new federal district court opinion is of course only considered "persuasive" in the Illinois state courts, though it provides a well-reasoned approach that could be instructive for our appellate courts in opposing "registration to do business in Illinois" as a basis for jurisdiction.

In that same opinion, the court also held that plaintiffs can plead a separate loss of consortium count in the complaint if a Survival Act cause of action is also pled in the complaint even though a Wrongful Death Act cause of action is also pled. The court held that while the Wrongful Death count would account for loss of consortium damages incurred as a result of the decedent's death and thereafter, it does not provide for the loss of consortium damages incurred between the decedent's injury and his ultimate death.