Illinois District Court Grants Summary Judgment For Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

In an Illinois district court, one Illinois, and another New Jersey resident filed a TCPA class action against IDT Energy, Inc. in Mackey v. IDT Energy, seeking to represent two classes: an ATDS, and a DNC class. IDT moved for summary judgment against the New Jersey resident arguing that the Illinois court lacked personal jurisdiction over it with respect to the New Jersey resident’s claim.  The Court agreed.

The New Jersey Plaintiff agreed that he was called on a New Jersey number, and that he was in New Jersey, when he received the calls.  IDT argued Bristol-Myers Squibb precluded personal jurisdiction with respect to the New Jersian’s claims.  As background, Bristol-Myers Squibb was a mass tort action, where a group of mostly non-Californians sued a pharmaceutical company in California state court, in which the pharmaceutical company was not subject to California general jurisdiction due not having sufficient minimal contacts with CA.  The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately reverse the California Supreme court’s conclusion that California state courts had specific personal jurisdiction over the claims brought by the nonresident plaintiffs holding: “The mere fact that other plaintiffs [were harmed] in California does not allow the State to assert specific jurisdiction over the nonresidents’ claims.”

The Plaintiffs here vigorously argued that Bristol-Myers Squibb applies only to state courts with claims brought by out of state plaintiffs, that allege out of state injuries, and it should not restrict a federal court’s exercise of personal jurisdiction over defendants sued by out of state plaintiffs asserting federal claims.  The court noted that there are district courts that agree with the plaintiff, but found that in Illinois there were many district courts that held Bristol-Myers Squibb indeed limited a federal court’s exercise of personal jurisdiction over defendants that are sued by out of state plaintiffs, for out of state injuries, especially in the context of the TCPA.  

Therefore, the court held that without general jurisdiction over IDT (it lacks enough contacts to call Illinois home) and without specific jurisdiction for these out of state claims under Bristol-Myers Squibb, IDT’s motion for summary judgment as to the New Jersey Plaintiff’s claims was granted!  

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