By: Carson R. Griffis*
In Highland Management Group, LLC v. Society Insurance, 2022 IL App (5th) 210348, the Illinois Appellate Court, Fifth Judicial District, clarified the scope of Illinois Supreme Court Rule 306(a)(4), which allows for interlocutory appeals from the grant or denial of a motion to transfer venue.
The plaintiff in Highland brought a declaratory judgment action against its insurer and insurance broker in the circuit court of Madison County, Illinois, seeking coverage for business income losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The plaintiff alleged that venue was proper in Madison County because its president and sole member resided there, and section 2-103(e) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 735 ILCS 5/2-103(e), allows actions to be brought against an insurance company "in any county in which the plaintiff or one of the plaintiffs may reside." The defendants filed a motion to transfer venue, arguing that Madison County was not the plaintiff's county of residence, which the circuit court denied. The defendants then filed a petition for leave to appeal under Rule 306(a)(4).
The appellate court dismissed the defendants' interlocutory appeal because it lacked jurisdiction. The court noted that Rule 306(a)(4) only allows for interlocutory appeals of the grant or denial of a motion to transfer venue "based on the assertion that the defendant is not a resident of the county in which the action was commenced." That language tracks the language of section 2-101 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 735 ILCS 5/2-101, which states that venue is generally proper "in the county of residence of any defendant."
But, the appellate court explained, the plaintiff brought its action in Madison County under section 2-103(e), which allows an action against an insurance company to be brought in the county of the plaintiff's residence, rather than section 2-101. And the defendants argued that venue was improper because the plaintiff did not reside in Madison County, not because they were residents of a different county. Because the defendants' motion was not based on the assertion that they were not residents of Madison County, the appellate court lacked jurisdiction over their interlocutory appeal under Rule 306(a)(4).
*Carson Griffis is an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Appeals Division of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. No comments made in this post are made on behalf of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, nor do they reflect the views or opinions of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General.