In Haubner v. Abercombie & Kent International, Inc., No. 1-03-2219 (1st Dist. 6/30/04), the First District held that an out-of-state defendant waived its objection to the circuit court's alleged lack of personal jurisdiction when it served a request for admission on the plaintiffs. In the following passage, the court explained the proper way of challenging personal jurisdiction:
An Illinois court obtains personal jurisdiction over a defendant once service is effectuated or when the defendant enters a general appearance. Clay v. Huntley, 338 Ill. App. 3d 68, 76 (2003). Any action taken by a defendant which recognizes the cause of action as being in court constitutes a general appearance unless the action is taken for the sole purpose of objecting to the court's jurisdiction over the defendant's person. Clay, 338 Ill. App. 3d at 76. An exception to the general appearance rule is provided by Rule 201(l), which allows a defendant to conduct limited discovery regarding the issue of personal jurisdiction without submitting to the general jurisdiction of the court or waiving any objection thereto. Official Reports Advance Sheet No. 8 (May 17, 2002), R. 201(l), eff. July 1, 2002. However, a defendant's discovery must be limited to the issue of the court's jurisdiction over the person of the defendant, for the engagement of discovery not limited to the issue of the court's in personam jurisdiction constitutes a general appearance and a waiver of any jurisdictional objection. Pearson v. Lake Forest Country Day School, 262 Ill. App. 3d 228, 233-34 (1994).
The case is also interesting for another reason: in a challenge by other foreign corporations to personal jurisdiction, the court held that they were "doing business" in Illinois. About the "doing business" standard, the court stated:
In addition to the transaction of business under section 2-209(a)(1), Illinois courts may exercise in personam jurisdiction over non-resident corporate defendants who are "doing business" in Illinois. 735 ILCS 5/2-209(b)(4) (West 2000). There is no precise test for determining whether a foreign corporation is "doing business" in Illinois. Kadala v. Cunard Lines, Ltd., 226 Ill. App. 3d 302, 314 (1992). Rather, a court must perform a case-by-case analysis to determine if a corporation is conducting business of such character and extent as to warrant the inference that the corporation has subjected itself to the jurisdiction and laws of the forum state. The corporation must transact its business within the state "not occasionally or casually, but with a fair measure of permanence and continuity." The "doing business" standard is quite high but, once satisfied, a corporation is considered a resident of Illinois and may be sued on any cause of action, regardless of whether it arose out of the corporation's contacts with the state.
Id. (some citations omitted). Applying these standards, the court held that a Ugandan corporation was doing business in Illinois because it had a relationship with a separate company based in Illinois, and both companies jointly arranged for African safaris, from which the Ugandan company derived 30% of its profits. The general manager of the Ugandan company had also visited the offices of the Illinois company, and the Illinois company had issued a refund behalf of the Ugandan company.