Kimbrell v. Brown, No. 10-1029 (7th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
A citizen of Illinois brought personal-injury claims against the driver of a tractor-trailer and his employer, citizens of Indiana, shortly before expiration of the limitations period. Service of process on the employer occurred eight months later. After the driver notified the district court that he had filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the district court stayed the case as to the driver, as required by the Bankruptcy Code, then dismissed the case against the employer with prejudice, finding that plaintiff failed to exercise reasonable diligence in serving process. The Seventh Circuit dismissed for lack of jurisdiction; dismissal of claims against the employer was not a final judgment because plaintiff continues to seek adjudication of his claims against the driver. The court noted that plaintiff has taken different positions with respect to the viability of the claim against the driver and has filed a state court suit against the driver.