Rollins v. Ellwood

Citation141 Ill.2d 244,565 N.E.2d 1302,152 Ill.Dec. 384
Decision Date30 November 1990
Docket NumberNos. 69697,69698,s. 69697
Parties, 152 Ill.Dec. 384 Sylvester ROLLINS, Appellee, v. John S. ELLWOOD, Sergeant, Appellant. Sylvester ROLLINS, Appellee, v. The CITY OF BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, Appellant.
CourtSupreme Court of Illinois

John R. Myers and Michael Chimitris, of Bell, Boyd & Lloyd, Chicago, Mark D. Bauman, of Hinshaw, Culbertson, Moelmann, Hoban & Fuller, Belleville, and Otho M. Thompson, Baltimore, Md., for appellants.

Thomas M. Daley and Amiel Cueto, of Cueto, Daley, Williams, Moore & Cueto, Ltd., Belleville, for appellee.

Justice STAMOS delivered the opinion of the court:

This appeal calls for this court to further consider the extent to which the courts of this State may exercise personal jurisdiction over nonresident defendants named in lawsuits filed by Illinois residents. Defendants are Sergeant John S. Ellwood (Ellwood) and the City of Baltimore, Maryland (Baltimore). They appeal from an order of the Appellate Court, Fifth District, that denied their petitions for leave to appeal from an order of the circuit court of St. Clair County, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 306 (107 Ill.2d R. 306); the circuit court order had denied the motions of both defendants to quash service of process on them for lack of personal jurisdiction. Defendants seek reversal of the appellate court's denial of their petitions for leave to appeal, and also request that we review the merits of their arguments regarding the circuit court's lack of personal jurisdiction over them and directly reverse the circuit court order (Krasnow v. Bender (1979), 78 Ill.2d 42, 47, 34 Ill.Dec. 315, 397 N.E.2d 1381 (in certain circumstances, concern for judicial economy allows supreme court, on appeal of appellate court's denial of leave to appeal, to rule on merits of cause)).

We have granted defendants' petitions for leave to appeal (107 Ill.2d R. 315) and have consolidated the two cases for appeal. In our review of this case we have considered the facts as they bear on both the order of the appellate court and the order of the circuit court, and we have considered the parties' arguments on the issues. We now not only reverse the judgment of the appellate court which denied defendants leave to appeal to the appellate court, but also reverse the judgment of the circuit court which found that defendants are subject to that court's personal jurisdiction.


Plaintiff, Sylvester Rollins (Rollins), filed his original complaint in the circuit court on August 28, 1986, naming as defendants only Baltimore and the Illinois County of St. Clair. Since that time, plaintiff has amended his complaint three times naming additional defendants, including Ellwood, and adding a number of counts, of wrongful conduct. As it stands today, plaintiff's complaint alleges that defendants Baltimore and Ellwood acted negligently and willfully and wantonly so as to deny him certain rights, and alleges that they committed the intentional torts of kidnapping, unlawful restraint, and conspiracy.

When Rollins was stopped for speeding by the East St. Louis police on July 9, 1986, a distressing month-long ordeal began for him, which is the basis of his complaint. In order to post bond, Rollins was brought to the East St. Louis police station; while he was there the police ran a check on him. The police discovered that an outstanding fugitive warrant existed for someone named "Ruchell Rollins," issued by the Baltimore police department. On July 10, after pleading guilty to the speeding charge, being fined, and being released on that charge, Rollins was re-arrested pursuant to a "hold order" entered by the circuit court, which ordered that Rollins be held on the fugitive warrant; Rollins was then transferred to the St. Clair County jail to await further action on the Baltimore charge.

Not until Rollins was re-arrested did the East St. Louis police advise the Baltimore police department that they were holding Sylvester Rollins on the fugitive warrant naming Ruchell Rollins. East St. Louis officials contacted the central records division of the Baltimore police department to determine if Ruchell Rollins was known to use the alias "Sylvester"; the central records division responded that it had no such information. Nonetheless, the St. Clair County jail officials continued to hold Rollins. Apparently, what happened next was that an officer in the Baltimore police Meanwhile, on July 10, July 11, and the days that followed, Rollins repeatedly told St. Clair County officials that he was not the man named in the Baltimore warrant and that he had never even been in Baltimore. Yet, when he was brought before a judge of the circuit court of St. Clair County on July 11, Rollins signed a waiver of extradition form. The waiver form stated:

[152 Ill.Dec. 387] department's fugitive unit was made aware that St. Clair County officials were holding "Sylvester W Rollins aka Ruchell Rollins" and, unaware that there was some question as to whether Sylvester Rollins was the same person as Ruchell Rollins, the man named in the warrant, on July 11 authorized detainer of Rollins by St. Clair County officials. Later that day the same Baltimore police officer informed St. Clair County officials that the Baltimore State's Attorney had authorized extradition; he also asked to be notified when Rollins cleared local charges.

"I, SYLVESTER WAYNE ROLLINS, a/k/a Ruchell Rollins, now in custody and having been informed by the Judge before whom this waiver is executed that I am charged with the offense of SODOMY, SEXUAL CHILD ACTS, & CHILD ABUSE, a crime in the State of MARYLAND, * * * and I have been informed that a demand has been made for my return to the State of MARYLAND and that I have the right to procure counsel and the right to test my present detention by a Writ of Habeas Corpus and the right to demand the issuance and service of a warrant of extradition; but not withstanding I hereby freely and voluntarily waive the issuance and service of all extradition proceedings and consent to return (go) to the State of MARYLAND, accompanied by a peace officer thereof for the purpose of answering a criminal charge there pending against me."

The circuit court then ordered the officials of the St. Clair County jail to deliver Rollins to "the duly accredited agents of the State of MARYLAND" who would present themselves for the purpose of transporting Rollins to Maryland to appear on the charges.

For some reason, it was not until July 29, 1986, that St. Clair County jail officials informed the Baltimore police department that Rollins had cleared local charges, had waived extradition, and was ready to be given over to the Baltimore police. Sergeant Ellwood of the Baltimore police department's fugitive unit received this information and, with another police officer, travelled to Belleville, Illinois, on August 5, 1986, stayed overnight, and on the morning of August 6 took custody of Rollins. At some time during Rollins' and Ellwood's journey to Baltimore, Rollins told Ellwood and the other officer that he was not the man sought on the Baltimore charges and, in fact, had never been in Baltimore; whereas Rollins says he made these statements while in a car on the way to the airport, Ellwood and the other officer both recall that it was not until the airplane was already on its way to Baltimore that Rollins made such statements. Also, both Ellwood and the other officer have stated that, before this incident, they had never known of a case in which a person who signed a waiver of extradition later denied being the person identified in the warrant. The day after his arrival in Baltimore, Rollins was brought before a judge who found that Rollins was, in fact, not the person identified in the Baltimore warrant. Rollins was then released.

This cause of action has not yet, after four years, advanced beyond the stage of determining personal jurisdiction over Ellwood and Baltimore. In response to Rollins' complaint, defendants Ellwood and Baltimore filed special and limited appearances in the circuit court of St. Clair County, seeking to have service of process upon them quashed for lack of personal jurisdiction (Ill.Rev.Stat.1985, ch. 110, par. 2-301(a)). Rollins seeks to establish personal jurisdiction over both Ellwood and Baltimore, neither of them an Illinois resident, on the basis of Illinois' long-arm statute. The long-arm statute provides that "[a]ny person, whether or not a citizen or resident of this State, who in person or through an agent does any of the acts hereinafter enumerated, thereby submits such person * * * to the jurisdiction of the courts of Although neither Ellwood nor Baltimore disputes at this stage that Ellwood engaged in the specified conduct in Illinois, they have both denied that Ellwood's conduct properly subjects them to the personal jurisdiction of the circuit court. Ellwood argues that because his actions were taken on behalf of his employer, the Baltimore police department, he is protected from the circuit court's exercise of personal jurisdiction over him by the fiduciary shield doctrine: the fiduciary shield doctrine prevents courts from asserting jurisdiction over a person on the basis of acts taken by that person not on his own behalf, but on behalf of his employer. Baltimore argues that it is not subject to the circuit court's personal jurisdiction because the Baltimore police department is an agency of the State of Maryland, not an agency of Baltimore; therefore, when Ellwood took custody of Rollins in Illinois he did not act as an agent of Baltimore and Baltimore did not commit, through Ellwood as agent, the allegedly tortious acts in Illinois giving rise to this cause. In this opinion, we first address Baltimore's argument.

                [152 Ill.Dec. 388] this State as to any cause of action arising from the doing of any of such acts * * *."  (Ill.Rev.Stat.1985, ch. 110, par. 2-209(a).)   Among the acts that serve to submit a

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