Monday, June 14, 2010

Counties with Personalities: It Matters Where You File

by David McCarthy

The conventional wisdom as to personal injury cases in Chicagoland is that plaintiffs want to avoid DuPage and get into Cook County whenever possible and defendants want to avoid Cook County and get into DuPage County.

The conventional wisdom has it that the jury pools in DuPage County are conservative and will demand that a plaintiff prove her case, and particularly establish that the damages she requests of the jury are fully justified. On the other hand, the thinking as to jury pools in Cook County is that they start with the premise, "We've got to give this poor plaintiff something" and the only question is how much?

We speak specifically about DuPage County because it is widely regarded as the most conservative of the 102 counties in the State. Cook County is considered among the most liberal, along with Madison and St. Claire Counties over on the Mississippi River.
The above discussion might suggest that a plaintiff can file a lawsuit anywhere she wants to. Not true.

The general rule is that the suit must be filed in the county where the defendant resides or where some part of the transaction took place. A corporation "resides" in any county in which it has an office or regularly transacts business. Out-of-state defendants can be sued in any Illinois county.