Justia Civil Procedure Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Supreme Court of Illinois
In re Marriage of Arjmand
This appeal arises from a prolonged divorce proceeding in Illinois. The appellant, Masud M. Arjmand, sought to dissolve his marriage to Muneeza R. Arjmand in 2009. In the course of the proceedings, the appellant filed multiple petitions for substitution of judge and a separate complaint against Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC and the Stogsdill Law Firm. The circuit court dismissed the appellant's complaint with prejudice, and this dismissal order was affirmed by the appellate court based on the doctrine of res judicata.On appeal to the Supreme Court of Illinois, the main issue was whether the appellate court had jurisdiction to consider prior orders denying the appellant’s petition and motion for substitution of judge in conjunction with an appeal under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 304(a). The Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court’s judgment that it lacked jurisdiction to review the petition and motion.The Supreme Court clarified that Rule 304(a) applies exclusively to final orders and does not provide jurisdiction to review rulings on requests for substitution of judge. The Court emphasized the policy disfavoring piecemeal appeals and stated that the circuit court’s Rule 304(a) findings were limited to determining the propriety of the dismissal of the appellant’s complaint. The Court rejected the appellant’s argument that the appellate court should have considered the rulings on his substitution requests to promote judicial economy, noting that principles of judicial economy may not override the jurisdictional barrier imposed by an Illinois Supreme Court rule. View "In re Marriage of Arjmand" on Justia Law
Waukegan Hospitality Group, LLC v. Stretch’s Sports Bar & Grill Corp.
In the case under consideration, the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois affirmed the dismissal of Waukegan Hospitality Group, LLC's appeal by the appellate court due to lack of jurisdiction. Waukegan Hospitality Group, LLC filed a notice of appeal five days after the deadline and did not file a motion seeking leave to show good cause or a reasonable excuse for the late filing. Despite the Group's claim that it had electronically submitted the notice of appeal on the due date and that the clerk erroneously rejected it, the Court ruled that the Group failed to seek recourse for its untimely filing as required by the rules of the Illinois Supreme Court. The Court noted that the record did not support the Group's factual assertions and that the Group did not utilize the remedies available to it, making its claim of due process violation baseless. Therefore, the Court held that the appellate court correctly ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the Group's appeal. The case originated from a two-count complaint for eviction filed by the Group against Stretch's Sports Bar & Grill Corporation, in which the trial court ruled in favor of the defendant. View "Waukegan Hospitality Group, LLC v. Stretch's Sports Bar & Grill Corp." on Justia Law
State ex rel. Raoul v. Elite Staffing, Inc.
In the case before the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois, the State of Illinois, represented by the Attorney General, alleged that Elite Staffing, Inc., Metro Staff, Inc., and Midway Staffing, Inc. (collectively, the staffing agencies) violated the Illinois Antitrust Act. The agencies, which supplied temporary workers to a company called Colony Display, were claimed to have agreed to fix wages for their employees at below-market rates and agreed not to hire each other's employees. The staffing agencies argued that the Act did not apply to the charged conduct, and the case was sent to the Supreme Court for interlocutory review.The Supreme Court held that the Illinois Antitrust Act does not exempt agreements between competitors to hold down wages and to limit employment opportunities for their employees from antitrust scrutiny. For the purposes of the Act, the court clarified that "service" does not exclude all agreements concerning labor services. It particularly noted that multiemployer agreements concerning wages they will pay their employees and whether they will hire each other's employees may violate the Act unless the agreement arises as part of the bargaining process and the affected employees, through their collective bargaining representatives, have sought to bargain with the multiemployer unit.The court vacated the appellate court’s answer to a question it had formulated and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "State ex rel. Raoul v. Elite Staffing, Inc." on Justia Law
Doe v. Burke Wise Morrissey & Kaveny, LLC
The attorneys represented Doe in a medical malpractice action against a hospital and other medical staff. During that litigation, the evidence established that, after Doe was admitted to the emergency room of the hospital, he attempted suicide by stabbing himself multiple times. The hospital sought a qualified protective order under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA, 42 U.S.C. 1320d) to gain access to Doe’s protected health information and requested a subpoena pursuant to HIPAA. At trial, Doe testified in detail about his suicide attempt, his injuries therefrom, and his diagnosis., Doe was awarded $4.2 million. Subsequently, the attorneys issued a press release related to the medical malpractice trial describing Doe’s suicide attempt, the resulting injuries, and his diagnoses and commented on the medical malpractice case and Doe’s history for an article published in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.Doe alleged that the attorneys violated the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act (740 ILCS 110/1). The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the dismissal of his case. Doe waived his claims of confidentiality under the Act by voluntarily and publicly disclosing his private health information in a public trial; the qualified protective order under HIPAA did not preclude such waiver. The evidence and testimony divulged during Doe’s medical malpractice trial were not records or communications made in the course of mental health services; therefore, the Act does not apply. View "Doe v. Burke Wise Morrissey & Kaveny, LLC" on Justia Law
Pinkston v. City of Chicago
The Municipal Code of Chicago included provisions concerning public parking, including parking meters. The fine for exceeding the time purchased at a parking meter differs depending on whether the violation occurs in the “central business district” or the “non-central business district.” At the time of the alleged violation, failure to comply with the parking meter regulations in the central business district resulted in a $65 fine. A $50 fine applied to similar violations outside the central business district.Pinkston filed a class-action, alleging that Chicago had engaged in the routine practice of improperly issuing central business district tickets for parking meter violations. The circuit court dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies before the Chicago Department of Administrative Hearings and voluntarily paying his fine. The appellate court reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the dismissal. The underlying issue—whether Pinkston received an improper parking ticket—is routinely handled at the administrative level; an aggrieved party cannot circumvent administrative remedies “by a class action for declaratory judgment, injunction or other relief.” View "Pinkston v. City of Chicago" on Justia Law
Lichter v. Porter Carroll
In January 2018, Lichter filed a personal injury action against Christopher for injuries she suffered in a car accident in February 2016, not knowing that Christopher had died in June 2017. An estate was never opened for Christopher following his death. In April 2018, Lichter successfully moved (735 ILCS 5/2-1008(b)(2)) to appoint Carroll as the special representative of Christopher’s estate for the purpose of defending the lawsuit. Lichter subsequently filed an amended complaint, naming Carroll as the special representative of Christopher’s estate and the defendant. Counsel for Christopher’s insurer, State Farm, appeared on behalf of the defendant. In March 2020, the defendant moved to dismiss Lichter’s complaint (735 ILCS 5/2-619(a)), arguing that the action was time-barred because Lichter never moved to appoint a personal representative of Christopher’s estate before the statute of limitations expiring, as required by 735 ILCS 13- 209(c).The appellate court reversed the dismissal of the case; the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. Subsection (b)(2), relating to the appointment of a special representative is not limited to situations where the plaintiff is aware of the defendant’s death. It was enacted to streamline the court process when there is no personal representative in place to defend a lawsuit. A plaintiff who learns of a defendant’s death after the statute of limitations has expired is not required to move to appoint a personal representative through the probate court. View "Lichter v. Porter Carroll" on Justia Law
Cleeton v. SIU Healthcare, Inc.
When he was 17 years old, Donald incurred a cervical cord injury, which left him quadriplegic. To reduce Donald’s involuntary muscle spasms, Dr. Espinosa implanted a Medtronic SynchroMed II Infusion System, a programmable pump that delivered doses of baclofen into the intrathecal space of Donald’s spine. The pump was managed by SIU Neurology and required regular refills. A routine refill went wrong, resulting in holes in the pump. Donald died days later.In a wrongful death action, the appellate court affirmed the denial of the plaintiff’s motion under the Code of Civil Procedure, 735 ILCS 5/2-402, to convert a respondent in discovery (Dr. Bakir) to a defendant. Bakir, a pulmonary critical care specialist, was Donald’s supervising physician in the ICU.The Illinois Supreme Court reversed. The plaintiff attached a certificate of merit in which a doctor opined that, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, Dr. Bakir deviated from the standard of care. The affidavit may not have stated the specific standard of care from which Dr. Bakir deviated, but it did provide the court with sufficient information about what Dr. Bakir failed to do based upon a reasonable degree of medical certainty—timely recognize that Donald suffered from baclofen withdrawal syndrome, timely order treatment, and timely administer that treatment. The trial court mistakenly required evidence that would establish more than a reasonable probability that the defendant could be liable. View "Cleeton v. SIU Healthcare, Inc." on Justia Law
Midwest Commercial Funding, LLC v. Kelly
Williams obtained a $4 million judgment against Kelly in March 2020 for his physical and sexual abuse of her when she was a minor. Midwest obtained a $3,484,420.70 judgment against Kelly in July 2020 for breach of a commercial real estate lease. Williams and Midwest each sought to satisfy their judgments through royalties Sony paid Kelly. Sony then held $1,544,333 in royalties due to Kelly. Williams sent via registered mail a citation to discover assets to Sony on August 17, 2020, return receipt requested. On August 19, 2020, Midwest e-mailed its citation to discover assets and also sent a copy through the regular mail. Midwest’s e-mail was directed to David Castagna, who was a member of Sony’s legal staff with whom Midwest had dealt on prior, unrelated matters. On August 24, 2020, Williams’s citation was delivered to Sony and Castagna acknowledged receipt of the email citation.The trial court found that Midwest’s lien was entitled to priority. The appellate court reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. Email service is not a recognized method for service of a citation to discover assets to a party that has not entered an appearance. Williams’s citation was entitled to priority because it was complete four days after she mailed it based on Illinois Supreme Court Rules. View "Midwest Commercial Funding, LLC v. Kelly" on Justia Law
Tims v. Black Horse Carriers, Inc.
Tims filed a class-action lawsuit against Black Horse, his former employer, alleging violations of the Biometric Information Privacy Act (740 ILCS 14/15(a)), concerning the retention and deletion of biometric information, and sections 15(b) and 15(d), concerning the consensual collection and disclosure of biometric identifiers and biometric information. The Cook County circuit court denied a motion to dismiss the complaint as untimely, reasoning that it was timely filed because the five-year limitations period (Code of Civil Procedure section 13-205) applied to the Act, which does not contain a limitations period. Tims subsequently amended his complaint to name an additional class representative. Black Horse moved to reconsider its motion to dismiss and to certify, for immediate appeal, the question of which limitations period controlled. The circuit court certified the question. The appellate court allowed the interlocutory appeal and held that the one-year limitations period (section 13-201) governs actions under section 15(c) and 15(d) of the Act and that the five-year limitations period governs actions under section 15(a), 15(b), and 15(e) of the Act.The Illinois Supreme Court held that the five-year default limitations period governs claims under the Act, noting the need to ensure certainty, predictability, and uniformity as to when the limitations period expires in each subsection. View "Tims v. Black Horse Carriers, Inc." on Justia Law
Duniver v. Clark Material Handling Co.
Duniver, lost his leg during a 2017 workplace accident. In 2019, Duniver filed a personal injury lawsuit seeking recovery from multiple defendants. Weeks later, Duniver filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection and failed to disclose the personal injury lawsuit, answering “no” when asked whether he was suing anyone. He then checked “[y]es” in response to a question asking if he had “Other contingent or unliquidated claims of every nature, including counterclaims of the debtor and rights to set off claims.” Duniver listed: Workman’s Comp. On another form, he checked “[y]es” in response to: “Within 1 year before you filed for bankruptcy, were you a party in any lawsuit, court action, or administrative proceeding,” A collections action filed against Duniver was listed, but the personal injury case was not included.The defendants argued judicial estoppel prohibited Duniver from pursuing his personal injury lawsuit and that Duniver lacked standing to sue them where the injury claim belonged to the bankruptcy estate. Duniver then filed amended bankruptcy schedules disclosing his personal injury case. The bankruptcy case was dismissed. The circuit court granted the defendants summary judgment, finding Duniver “blatantly deceived” the bankruptcy trustee and that any claim would have to be pursued on behalf of the bankruptcy estate. The appellate court reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court agreed. Duniver had standing and the evidence failed to show an intent to deceive or mislead. View "Duniver v. Clark Material Handling Co." on Justia Law