News & Articles

16 September 2016


The Illinois 1st District Appellate Court recently found its way around the Daimler criteria for exercising general jurisdiction over defendants by focusing on finding specific jurisdiction over the defendant. In this case, specific jurisdiction was found over defendant GSK based on their “substantial in-state contacts”, namely its contracts with 17 Illinois physicians to run 18-21 clinical trials on Paxil in Illinois as part of a larger study and the fact that plaintiff’s claims arose from GSK’s acts or omissions related to those trials. M.M. ex rel. Meyers v. GlaxoSmithKline LLC, 2016 IL App (1st) 151909 (2016) (GSK_Opinion.pdf (112 KB). Defendant had argued that it was not “at home” in Illinois under Daimler because neither its state of incorporation nor its principle place of business were located here. GSK claimed that its actions or omissions in Illinois were not the “but for” cause of the alleged harm: plaintiffs did not serve as study subjects in Illinois, did not receive Paxil prescriptions in Illinois, did not ingest Paxil in Illinois, and did not suffer injury from Paxil in Illinois. Finally, defendant GSK argued that the out-of-state plaintiffs may not create personal jurisdiction by tacking their claims onto those of the two Illinois plaintiffs. The plaintiffs argued that they had a separate and independent basis for exercising personal jurisdiction because defendant GSK’s “conduct in Illinois was the same as its conduct in other states-and that conduct gave rise to the out-of-state Plaintiffs’ claims.”In other words, the nonresident plaintiffs’ claims were based on “the same alleged wrongs as the claims of the Illinois resident plaintiffs.” The court held there was specific jurisdiction.

In another Illinois 1st District Appellate Court decision, Aspen Am. Ins. Co. v. Interstate Warehousing, Inc., 2016 IL App (1st) 151876 (2016), the court acted similarly finding that the defendant could be held to be under the court’s jurisdiction based on the Illinois long-arm statute based on the fact that the defendant was operating warehouses in both the Chicago area and in Joliet, Illinois. The court reasoned that Daimler allowed such facts to act as a prima facie showing that defendant has affiliations with Illinois that are “so continuous and systematic” as to render it essentially “at home” in Illinois. The court held that that fact together with the defendant having been licensed to transact business in Illinois for 27 years was enough to find jurisdiction and that the burden then switched to the defendant to show that its contacts were not sufficiently continuous and systematic enough to support jurisdiction. The court then noted that defendant failed to present any evidence concerning the amount of business being conducted in Illinois as was done in Daimler to refute what it deemed to be plaintiff’s prima facie showing of jurisdiction. The court stated that the burden switched to the defendant to refute the plaintiff’s prima facie case of jurisdiction and defendant “failed” to meet that burden.

That said there appears to be room to distinguish these cases from most asbestos cases given the factual specifics at issue.