Sidley secured a victory on behalf of Bayer in the Illinois Supreme Court on June 4, 2020. Reversing the lower appellate and circuit court judgments, the Court ordered the dismissal of 160 out-of-state plaintiffs in the Essure product liability cases, Hamby v. Bayer Corp., No. 125020 and Rios v. Bayer Corp., No. 125021 (Ill. S. Ct. 2019).
At issue was whether Illinois may exercise specific personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant as to the claims of out-of-state plaintiffs for personal injuries suffered outside of Illinois from a device manufactured outside of Illinois. The Court ruled that courts in Illinois may not exercise specific personal jurisdiction under these circumstances, reversing the judgments of the lower courts.
The personal jurisdiction issue is highly significant not only in these cases but also for many other product liability actions in Illinois and beyond. A January 2020 Law360 article named these among the “Illinois Cases to Watch,” and indicated that their outcome could “change the landscape of toxic tort litigation in the state,” by impacting the common practice of nonresident plaintiffs bringing claims against nonresident defendants in southern Illinois.
Sidley partner Virginia Seitz argued the case before the Illinois Supreme Court, and Jon Cohn, Erika Maley and Dan Hay drafted the briefs, along with Elizabeth Curtin, Michelle Ramirez and Chris Eiswerth.