Morton Grove Pharms., Inc. v. Nat’l. Pediculosis Assoc., __ F. Supp.2d __, 2007 WL 4259422 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 30, 2007) (Bucklo, J.).
Judge Bucklo granted in part defendants Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss and denied defendants’ motion to transfer the case to the Eastern District of Michigan. Plaintiff manufactures a line of lotions and shampoo which are FDA-approved for treating lice and scabies. Defendants are a Michigan non-profit group, Ecology Center, Inc., and related individuals (collectively the "Center"), as well as the National Pediculosis Association. The Center mailed two newsletters related to passage of Michigan legislation to approximately 19,000 addresses of which 44 were in Illinois. 99% of the Center’s donors were from Michigan, with just .23% from Illinois (18 Illinois-based donors total). The Center’s strongest ties to Illinois consisted of two donations totaling $270,000 from an Illinois-based foundation and an interactive website which accepts donations, although none have come from Illinois. The Court previously held that these contacts did not create general jurisdiction.*
The Court held that the Center’s act of sending even the two newsletters with the allegedly misleading and defamatory statements created specific jurisdiction over the Center. But the Court held that there was not specific jurisdiction over individual defendant William Weil. Weil’s name appeared in the newsletter, but he submitted an affidavit stating that he did not participate in mailing the newsletter and had no knowledge that it was being sent to any Illinois residents.
The Court did not transfer the case to the Eastern District of Michigan because the Center did not show that Michigan was clearly more convenient than the Northern District. Each party’s witnesses were in their preferred jurisdiction – the plaintiff’s in Illinois and the Center’s in Michigan – and the interests of justice are served by keeping the case in the Northern District. While median times to trial in both districts were comparable, plaintiff’s related, pending case in the Northern District made the Northern District the correct court to hear the case, even though the Court had severed the related case from this one.
* For discussion of the Court’s previous personal jurisdiction decision in this case, click here.