The question of personal jurisdiction most often arises when a plaintiff sues a nonresident defendant. Personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant in Illinois is governed by federal and state law: Due Process under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, decisions of the United States Supreme Court, the Illinois Long Arm Statute, 735 ILCS 5/2-209 (lists the reasons a court can have jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant), and decisions of the Illinois Supreme Court.

Personal jurisdiction is a court’s power over a litigant (a person, business, estate, etc). There must be a reason for a court to have personal jurisdiction over a defendant, and a nonresident defendant must have minimum contacts with Illinois. “Minimum contacts” are based in constitutional Due Process under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Due process means it must be fair and just for the nonresident to be hauled into an Illinois court.

There are two types of personal jurisdiction, i.e., two categories of conduct that gives a court power over a nonresident defendant: general jurisdiction (for any conduct by the defendant) and specific jurisdiction (for activity related to the reason the plaintiff has sued).

General Jurisdiction

Illinois courts have general jurisdiction over the defendant if the defendant lives in Illinois, is an Illinois business, or is served in Illinois. In such cases, an Illinois court may make rulings that affect the defendant in any type of case.

Specific Jurisdiction

Illinois courts can have specific jurisdiction even if the defendant does not live in Illinois, is not an Illinois business, or is not served in Illinois. This test, generally, is whether the defendant activities have effected a person or commerce in Illinois, such as (depending on the facts), conducting business in Illinois; harming a person or damaging property in Illinois, or owning, using, or possessing Illinois real estate.

Minimum Contacts

The ultimate, overriding test for whether an Illinois Court may exercise personal jurisdiction over nonresident defendant is whether each defendant - on a case by case basis - has "minimum contacts" with Illinois. Whatever the contacts with Illinois may be, they must comport with fairness and justice, i.e., due process. Otherwise, an Illinois court may not enter orders that affect the nonresident defendant.

The lawyers at Lubin Austermuehle have over thirty-years of experience litigating personal jurisdiction claims for our business and individual clients. We carefully review personal jurisdiction issues before bringing suit for our clients and if our clients are haled into Illinois courts when there is no jurisdiction, we have achieved dismissal of the claims against them. Conveniently located in Chicago and Elmhurst, Illinois, we have successfully litigated personal jurisdiction issues in federal and state courts all over the Chicago area. To schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, you can contact us online or give us a call at 630-333-0333.

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