Gray v. Am. Radiator & Standard Sanitary Corp.

22 Ill. 2d 432, 176 N.E.2d 761 (1961)



Whether the type of activity conducted within the state is adequate to satisfy the jurisdictional requirement depends upon the facts in the particular case. The question cannot be answered by applying a mechanical formula or rule of thumb but by ascertaining what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances. In the application of this flexible test the relevant inquiry is whether defendant engaged in some act or conduct by which he may be said to have invoked the benefits and protections of the law of the forum.


A personal injury suit was brought against several defendants, including defendant foreign corporation, alleging that a water heater exploded and injured plaintiff. The complaint charged that the foreign corporation had negligently constructed the safety valve, and that plaintiff's injuries were suffered as a proximate result thereof. A summons was issued and was duly served on the foreign corporation's registered agent in Cleveland, Ohio. The foreign corporation filed a motion to quash the summons and to dismiss the claims against it on the ground that it had not committed a tortious act in Illinois. The foreign corporation's affidavit stated that it did no business in Illinois and that it sold the completed valves to a co-defendant outside Illinois. The circuit court granted the foreign corporation's motion to dismiss the complaint.


Can the foreign corporation be sued by the plaintiff in Illinois even if had no business in Illinois and sold its products outside of Illinois?




On appeal, the court held that the foreign corporation had sufficient contacts with the State of Illinois to provide jurisdiction because the foreign corporation elected to sell its product for ultimate use in that state. Also, the facts show that the plaintiff, an Illinois resident, was injured in Illinois. The law of Illinois will govern the substantive questions, and witnesses on the issues of injury, damages and other elements relating to the occurrence are most likely to be found here. Under such circumstances the courts of the place of injury usually provide the most convenient forum for trial.

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