Articles Posted in Federal Jurisdiction

Marina Kolchinsky and her mother, Lidia Kolchinsky, were severely injured in a car collision with a tractor-trailer in Illinois. They sued the truck driver and the two companies that contracted with him. The Kolchinskys filed in federal court based on diversity of citizenship. Illinois law controlled.

The district court entered partial summary judgment in favor of Western Dairy Transport LLC and WD Logistics LLC, concluding that the driver was an independent contractor. This was done so that the Kolchinskys could not hold the companies responsible for the driver’s alleged negligence.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago affirmed the summary judgment for these two companies, ruling that the district court properly classified the driver as an independent contractor.

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Christopher Novus Davis, 20, was admitted to Chester Mental Health Center in Chester, Ill., which is about 60 miles southeast of St. Louis. Shortly after he arrived, he was allegedly confronted by a group of security aides in the dining room for standing without permission after being seated for breakfast.

Davis was placed in handcuffs and, once off camera, he was pulled to the ground, shoved, punched and kneed in the face, according to the court documents.

Davis filed a lawsuit in 2013 against Lucas Nanny, Tom Nordman, Josh Rackley and Terry Steward. He was represented pro bono by Sidley Austin LLP’s attorneys Daniel A. Spira, Julie Becker and Elizabeth M. Chiarello.

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Deborah Amling, personally and as personal representative for the Estate of Robert N. Amling, brought this lawsuit for the wrongful death of her husband against Harrow Industries LLC and others.

Amling and her husband, Robert, sued Harrow Industries and other businesses in Illinois state court for causing Robert to develop mesothelioma by exposing him to asbestos. Two years later, the Amlings sued Harrow again, this time in federal court, seeking a declaratory judgment on the meaning of an asset-purchase agreement between Harrow and another company, Nexus, also a defendant in the Amlings’ Illinois state lawsuit.

The federal district court judge thought the declaratory judgment action unripe and dismissed it. Even if it were ripe, the judge ruled in the alternative, she would decline to exercise jurisdiction over it. The Amlings appealed. Unfortunately, Robert died while this appeal was pending. Deborah now brings these state and federal lawsuits in her own right and as a representative of Robert’s estate.

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In the case of Campbell v. Acme Installations Inc., highlighted in the April 2019 Illinois Bar Journal authored by Eric J. Muñoz, general jurisdiction for nonresident defendants is clarified.

In the Campbell case, the plaintiff brought a lawsuit against General Electric and other companies resulting from his alleged exposure to GE-manufactured industrial furnaces located at a Chicago steel company where he worked from 1964 to 1965. At the time of the filing of the lawsuit, GE was based in New York, and its principal place of business was in Massachusetts.

GE had been licensed to conduct business in Illinois since 1897. GE employed some 3,000 employees at 30 facilities that it owned, leased, or operated throughout Illinois. It also had six business units located in the state. GE’s annual sales from its Illinois operations “exceeded $1 billion, with a claimed economic impact in Illinois of $4.8 billion.”

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This lawsuit was originally filed in Kane County, Ill., in the wrongful death and survival act claims by Lee Anne Wigdahl for the death of her husband, Eric Wigdahl. The case was challenged by the defendant, who claimed that it should have been removed to the federal court because the case posed a federal question.

The complaint that Wigdahl filed made UnitedHealthcare (UHC) as a party defendant for allegedly choosing not to tell her now- deceased husband to immediately go to the emergency room rather than steering him to a less expensive urgent care center when he called the health insurer, UHC from California. He was in serious distress while seeking help in locating an in-network referral under his group health plan.

UHC argued that federal question jurisdiction applied here requiring removal to federal court because: (1) Section 502(a) of ERISA authorizes a beneficiary to sue the administrator of a group plan if its employees withhold or misrepresent the plan’s benefits; and (2) Section 514 says ERISA “shall supersede any and all state laws insofar as they may now or hereafter relate to any employee benefit plan.”

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Vanessa Noboa used Orbitz to book and pay for a room at the Barceló Los Cabos Palace Hotel on the Baja Peninsula of Mexico.

She signed up for an all-terrain vehicle tour with Rancho Carisuva. During the tour, the all-terrain vehicle overturned and killed Noboa. Her family brought a lawsuit against Rancho Carisuva and Barceló Corporación Empresarial, a Spanish corporation. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

The presiding judge granted the defendants’ motions to dismiss for lack of specific personal jurisdiction. Neither of the defendants had personal contact with Illinois.

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In a civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983, Danny Farley hired an attorney who began the process of filing the complaint in the Southern District of Illinois in East St. Louis, Ill. The local rules in the district require that documents be filed electronically through the CM/ECF system. Attorneys must use this system to file documents unless they have received a special exemption.

Under the rules in place at the time, e-filers could not open a new case in CM/ECF on their own. Rather, they had to submit civil cases by e-mail in PDF form to the proper divisional mailbox. Upon receipt, the division clerk would open a new case in the CM/ECF system and inform the attorney that they could proceed in filing further documents.

On March 8, 2011 at 4:15 p.m., an assistant to Farley’s attorney e-mailed the complaint and civil cover sheet to the proper e-mail address. The clerk’s office responded at 5:11 p.m. with a notice stating that a new civil case had been opened, but the complaint was not being filed with the clerk until it was transmitted to the CM/ECF system.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago has found an Illinois resident did not establish the minimum state contacts for a case to be heard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago.

William Kipp purchased a ski ticket at Devil’s Head Ski Resort in Merrimac, Wis., on Jan. 6, 2012. As Kipp was attempting to board the ski lift, the speed of the lift caused him to be thrown from the chair. He suffered a left clavicle, collar bone fracture.

Kipp sued Ski Enterprise, the lift operator, claiming that the lift’s operating speed was the too fast and that the operator was negligent, causing his injuries.

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Takata Corp. is headquartered in Japan and manufactures millions of airbags installed in American vehicles. The company has agreed to recall 33.8 million airbags. That number doubles the already massive recall.

A consent agreement was entered into between Takata and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). There is a federal class action injury lawsuit pending in the Miami Federal District Court related to the defective airbags.

The agreement with NHTSA and Takata was reduced to an agreed order in the federal district court class action case. There are 10 automobile manufacturers that installed Takata airbags. According to a recent Chicago Law Daily Bulletin report, 17 million of those vehicles with Takata airbags are in the United States.

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The Federal Tort Claim Act (FTCA) provides that a tort claim against the United States “shall be forever barred” unless the claimant meets two deadlines. First, the claim must be presented to the appropriate federal agency for administrative review “within two years after [the] claim accrues.” 28 U.S.C. §2401(b). Second, if the agency denies the claim, the claimant may file a suit in federal court “within six months” of the agency’s denial. Id.

In this United States Supreme Court decision, Kwai Fun Wong and Marlene June, respondents in Nos. 13-1074 and 13-1075, respectively, each missed one of those deadlines. Wong failed to file her FTCA claim in federal court within 6 months, but argued that was only because the District Court had not permitted her to file that claim until after the period expired. June failed to present her FTCA claim to the federal agency within 2 years, but argued that her untimely filing should be excused because the government had, in her view, concealed facts vital to her claim.

In each of these cases, the District Court dismissed the FTCA claim for failure to satisfy §2401(b)’s time bars, holding that, despite any justification for delay, those time bars are jurisdictional and not subject to equitable tolling. The Ninth Circuit reversed in both cases, concluding that §2401(b)’s time bars may be equitably tolled.

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