CHICAGO — An Illinois appellate court has upheld a Cook County judge's decision to transfer to McHenry County court a case filed by a McHenry County woman whose toddler was allegedly injured in a McHenry County J.C. Penney store.

“The chosen forum (Cook County) is neither the site of the accident nor (the woman's) residence, and after considering all private and public interests factors, we conclude that the balance of factors in the instant case strongly favor a transfer to McHenry County,” said Illinois First District Appellate Court Justice P. Scott Neville in an unpublished order.

Justices Michael B. Hyman and Daniel J. Pierce concurred in the Aug. 22 decision. 

The case stems from an incident that allegedly occurred in a McHenry County J.C. Penney store in August 2015 in which Maryam Shamshuddin’s daughter allegedly cut her foot on the edge of the store’s exit door

Shamshuddin, who filed the case on behalf of her daughter, claimed, among other things, the child needed stitches and she incurred additional medical expenses, blaming the injuries on a door that allegedly was not kept in reasonably safe conditions and had an “unreasonably sharp edge.”

Shamshuddin had requested more than $50,000 in damages.

In December 2015, J.C. Penney requested to move the case from the Cook County Circuit Court to McHenry County court, arguing Cook County was an improper venue because neither plaintiff lives in Cook County nor did the alleged incident take place in Cook County. The department store chain also argued that none of the plaintiff’s witnesses reside in Cook County.

The circuit court agreed with J.C. Penney, but Shamshuddin appealed, arguing that the court erred when granting the change in venue.

The appellate court, however, upheld the lower court’s decision, ruling that the “circuit court did not abuse its discretion.”

“When we consider the private factors, particularly the fact that the two eye witnesses reside in McHenry County and the fact that McHenry County is the county where the store is located where (the woman) alleges (her daughter) was injured, they weigh in favor of McHenry County,” Neville said in the appellate court decision. 

“… McHenry County has a greater connection to the accident and would be a more convenient forum since the witnesses reside in McHenry County.” 

Shamshuddin was represented in the action by attorney John S. Xydakis, of Chicago.

J.C. Penney was defended by Kopka Landau & Pinkus, of Chicago. 

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Cook County Circuit Court Illinois First District Appellate Court Kopka, Pinkus, Dolin and Eads

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