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Illinois Supreme Court Issues Opinion that May Change Asbestos Litigation Landscape



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On September 21, 2017 the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois issued a personal jurisdiction opinion that may change the national landscape of asbestos litigation.

Aspen American Insurance Company v. Interstate Warehousing, Inc.[3]closes the door in Illinois to out-of-state plaintiffs suing for claims that have no ties to Illinois against defendants who are not domiciled in the state.

One-third of all asbestos-related lawsuits in the United States are filed in Madison County, Illinois and asbestos litigation accounts for 72% of the civil cases filed in Madison County.[1]  Only 75 of 1,224 asbestos cases filed in Madison County in 2015 were filed by Illinois residents.[2]  This may change with the recent decision in Aspen

The Court in the Aspen case applied the Daimler AG v. Bauman Supreme Court decision.[4]  Daimler distinguished between specific and general jurisdiction.  In cases involving specific jurisdiction, a state can establish jurisdiction over a defendant because the cause of action arose out of or occurred within the jurisdiction.  General jurisdiction is based on the principal that you can sue a defendant where they are domiciled.  In cases involving a company, that is where they are incorporated, where they have their principal place of business, or when their connection to the forum state is so substantial that a very limited exception is warranted.  

[1] American Tort Reform Foundation, Judicial Hellholes 2016-2017, 31 (2017)
[2] Id. 
[3] Aspen Am. Ins. Co. v. Interstate Warehousing, Inc.,-- NE.2d --, 2017 IL 121281 (Ill. Sept. 21, 2017)
[4] Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S.Ct. 746 (2014) 


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