SHERWIN A. BROOK, as Trustee of the David North II Trust, successor to the assets of Cortina Financial, Inc., Plaintiff-Appellant,
J. Lawrence McCormley, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
September 13, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 16 C 7345 -
Matthew F. Kennelly, Judge.
BAUER, ROVNER, and SYKES, Circuit Judges.
Sherwin Brook ("Brook"), appeals the district
court's finding that the Northern District of Illinois
lacks personal jurisdiction over the defendants-appellees, J.
Lawrence McCormley and Tiffany & Bosco, P. A.
(collectively, "Defendants"), for a legal
malpractice, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty
lawsuit. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.
Financial, Inc. ("Cortina") is a now-dissolved
corporation that was wholly-owned by the David North II Trust
(the "Trust"). The beneficiaries of the Trust lived
in Illinois when the Trust was established; however, in the
mid-1980s, they relocated to Arizona. In 2011, the Trust
became an Arizona trust. Brook, an Illinois resident, was the
president of Cortina and is the trustee of the Trust.
Lawrence McCormley is a resident of Arizona and an attorney
at Tiffany & Bosco, a law firm with its principal place
of business in Arizona.
2001, Brook sought out Tiffany & Bosco to represent
Cortina in a lawsuit. The lawsuit arose from a dispute over a
ground lease created when Cortina sold one of four plots of
land the company owned in Scottsdale, Arizona. The suit was
dismissed in 2002.
2005, and again in 2013, Cortina sought additional legal
advice from Tiffany & Bosco to analyze the viability of
claims related to the same ground lease under Arizona's
various statutory limitation periods. In 2014, Cortina
requested that Tiffany & Bosco initiate a nonjudicial
foreclosure on the property. Tiffany & Bosco ultimately
decided that the firm's involvement in the nonjudicial
foreclosure would pose conflict of interest issues and
declined the opportunity to represent Cortina. Throughout
Tiffany & Bosco's thirteen years representing
Cortina, the parties exchanged phone calls and correspondence
between Arizona and Illinois, but all in-person meetings
occurred in Arizona.
filed suit against Defendants in the Northern District of
Illinois alleging legal malpractice, breach of contract, and
breach of fiduciary duty. After the district court requested
a jurisdictional statement, Cortina substituted in Brook as
the plaintiff through an amended complaint.
district court dismissed Brook's amended complaint for
lack of personal jurisdiction. The district court
acknowledged that Defendants entered into a business
relationship with an Illinois plaintiff, but pointed out that
the activities were strictly conducted in Arizona.
Additionally, the court cited the lack of evidence showing
that Defendants reached out to or solicited Cortina, the
Trust, or Brook to enter into the relationship. Brook
standard of review for a dismissal based on lack of personal
jurisdiction is de novo. Tamburo v. Dworkin, 601
F.3d 693, 700 (7th Cir. 2010). In order for a district court
to bind an individual, the court must have personal
jurisdiction over that individual. Ins. Corp. of Ir.,
Ltd. v. Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee, 456 U.S. 694,
701 (1982). The plaintiff bears the burden of establishing
personal jurisdiction. Cent. States, Se. & Sw. Areas
Pension Fund v. Reimer Express World Corp., 230 F.3d
934, 939 (7th Cir. 2000).
procedural matter, federal courts look to state law in
determining the bounds of their jurisdiction over a party.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(k)(1)(A); see also Walden v. Fiore,134 S.Ct. 1115, 1121 (2014). The Illinois long-arm statute
permits the court to exercise jurisdiction to the full extent
permitted by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment. 735 Ill.Comp.Stat 5/2-209(c). ...