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Updates To Illinois Personal Jurisdiction Law After In re Plavix Related Cases and its Applicability to Illinois Asbestos Cases

In the recent case of In re Plavix Related Cases, 2014 WL 3928240 (2014), the Court narrowed the scope of personal jurisdiction in Illinois for out-of-state residents attempting to file a claim in Illinois courts. Specifically, In re Plavix Related Cases deals with the situation of several non-Illinois residents suing non-Illinois corporations in Illinois courts.

The In re Plavix Related Cases court began with a review of general jurisdiction. “Personal jurisdiction is a court’s power to bring a person into its adjudicative process.” In re M. W., 232 Ill. 2d 408, 415 (2009). To be valid, the exercise of personal jurisdiction must be authorized by state law and consistent with state and federal due process. Illinois law authorizes courts to exercise jurisdiction over non-resident defendants to the full extent permitted by the Illinois and federal Constitutions, 735 ILCS 5/2-209(c), and Illinois due process is satisfied when federal due process requirements are met. See Russell v. SNFA, 987 N.E.2d 778, 785 (2013). Therefore, the only issue the Court need decide is whether the exercise of jurisdiction in this case comports with due process under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. See Goodyear Dunlop Tires Operations, S.A. v. Brown, 131 S. Ct. 2846, 2853 (2011). Read more

Missouri High Court Strikes Down Punitive Damages Cap in Common Law Actions Existing Before 1820

In the case of Lillian M. Lewellen v. Chad Franklin and Chad Franklin Auto Sales North LLC, No. SC92871, (Mo. banc Sept. 9, 2014), the Supreme Court of Missouri recently struck down Missouri’s statutory cap on punitive damages (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 510.265) for all common law causes of action that existed before Missouri’s Constitution was adopted.  In short, the Court held the cap on punitive damages was unconstitutional as applied to all causes of action existing at common law before 1820.  The Court previously held the statutory cap applied to causes of action created after 1820 (i.e. claims created by statute).  See Lewellen, at *8, fn 9. Read more