Joseph Mizrachi (“Mizrachi”) sued his former attorneys, Lawrence Ordower (“Ordower”) and Ordower & Ordower, PC, for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with acquisition of a corporation and related litigation. Ordower filed a third-party complaint for contribution against attorney James Smith and the law firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP (together “Kilpatrick”), which also represented Mizrachi. Kilpatrick moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. The US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, sitting in diversity jurisdiction, granted the motion.
Regarding general jurisdiction, the Court explained that Kilpatrick “was not organized in Illinois, nor is its principal place of business here… it does not have an office in this state.” Id. at 2. At most, some of Kilpatrick’s attorneys based in other states were licensed to practice in Illinois and represent clients there; sometimes in litigation. However, the Court held that such contacts were not sufficiently extensive or pervasive as to approximate the physical presence required for general jurisdiction. The Court reached the same conclusion with respect to specific jurisdiction, explaining that “the only contact between Kilpatrick and Illinois… is that Kilpatrick knew it was representing a defendant based, at least partly, in Illinois.” Id. Nevertheless, “the mere fact that a defendant’s conduct affects a plaintiff with connections to the forum State is not sufficient to establish jurisdiction.” Id.
(This is for informational purposes and is not legal advice.)