We affirm. Greving lacks minimum contacts with Illinois that would permit the district court, consistent with the dueprocess clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, to exercise specific personal jurisdiction over him. As relevant to this dispute, Greving only set foot in Illinois once—to attend a seed-corn meeting in Rochelle in early 2003, several months before the parties entered into the first of their grain contracts. It was there that he met Tom Wilson, who became his point of contact with Northern Grain. But even assuming that Greving’s attendance at this seed-corn meeting enters the personal-jurisdiction calculus for the later-formed contracts at issue here, there is no indication in the record that Greving attended the meeting in an effort to find grain buyers. And virtually everything else about Greving’s contractual relationship with Northern Grain was based in Wisconsin. When Greving met with Wilson, they met either at his Wisconsin farm or at a Denny’s restaurant in Delavan, Wisconsin. Greving delivered his Wisconsin-grown grain to a grain elevator in Wisconsin. Of course, the checks he received from Northern Grain were drawn on Illinois banks, but that does not show that he purposefully availed himself of the privilege of conducting business in Illinois. So although it may seem convenient as a practical matter for Greving to defend this suit in Rockford, the Constitution doesn’t permit the Illinois courts—and, thus, federal district courts in Illinois—to exercise jurisdiction over him.
Marvin Greving is a longtime Wisconsinite. Although he graduated from high school in Iowa and attended college in New York, he has lived and farmed in Walworth County, in rural southeastern Wisconsin, since April 1971, and has owned his own farm in Elkhorn since 1977. He and his wife conduct their personal and business activities in Wisconsin, and their children attended Wisconsin schools. Greving has a Wisconsin driver’s license, Wisconsin insurance, and pays taxes into the Wisconsin treasury. He purchases his seed, fertilizer, pesticides, and other farm equipment from Wisconsin vendors.
Judge(s): Diane Sykes
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
Related Categories: ADR , Civil Procedure , Constitutional Law , Contracts
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