Articles Posted in Appellate Procedure

Judge Marcia Maras ruled in May 2022 that the prejudgment interest statute passed by the Illinois legislature was unconstitutional. However, another law division judge gave notice on July 20, 2022, stating that the motions on constitutional issues can and should be decided by the trial judge. In a written order of Aug. 5, 2022, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Maura Slattery Boyle granted prejudgment interest to a plaintiff in a negligence action.

Judge Boyle denied the defendants’ motion to declare the Prejudgment Interest Act unconstitutional, rejecting all of the arguments made including the applicability of Judge Maras’s ruling in Hyland, etc. v. Advocate Health & Hospitals Corp., et al., No. 17 L 3541.

The act allows plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits to collect interest against defendants from the time the lawsuit is filed should the plaintiff prevail to judgment, rather than from the time judgment is entered. The effective date of this act is July 1, 2021. The law provides recovery of 6% prejudgment interest in addition to the 9% post-judgment interest already enshrined in the law.

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The Illinois Supreme Court held that it lacked appellate jurisdiction to review a trial court order because the order was not final. In this matter, the plaintiff, Clifton Armstead, was a semi-truck driver working for a Pennsylvania-based company. Armstead was injured in Illinois by another semi-truck operated by Derrick Roberts. Armstead filed a workers’ compensation claim with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor, which led to the signing of an agreement settling the workers’ comp claim.

The agreement stated that Armstead suffered from a right knee strain but no other injuries.

Armstead concurrently filed a negligence action in Grundy County, Ill., against Roberts and his employer, National Freight. The trial court granted a partial summary judgment in the defendant’s favor, determining that the workers’ compensation agreement included a judicial admission precluding Armstead from asserting injuries other than a right knee strain. The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed.

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On May 11, 2018, Alyce L. Richards and Joshua T. Wilson were involved in a car crash. Richards was injured and Wilson died.

On May 6, 2020, Richards filed a lawsuit, five days before the statute of limitations expired, alleging that the crash was caused by Wilson’s negligence.

Richards was aware at the time of filing that Wilson was deceased, and he was named as the only defendant. On May 20, 2020, Richards moved to appoint a special administrator, and Kimberly Vaca was appointed. Vaca moved to dismiss pursuant to §2-619 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, arguing that the lawsuit was not filed within the two-year period and thus was time barred.

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Mary Perry Carmichael was an employee at Union Pacific Railroad Co. (UPRC).  In that capacity, she was being transported by Professional Transportation Inc. (PTI) in a van when it was hit by a vehicle driven by Dwayne Bell. Carmichael filed a lawsuit against UPRC, PTI and Bell; the suits against UPRC and PTI were dismissed.  Carmichael settled with Bell for $20,000, the maximum liability coverage under his auto insurance policy.

Carmichael also filed a declaratory judgment suit in chancery against PTI, UPRC and ACE American Insurance Co., PTI’s insurer, alleging that PTI was legally responsible for her injury because it chose not to carry the statutory mandated amount of insurance in violation of Section 8-101(c) of the Illinois Vehicle Code.

PTI argued that Section 8-101(c) provided no civil remedy for such a violation and moved to dismiss on this basis. The trial court found that the statute implied a private right of action and denied the motion. PTI also filed a counterclaim for declaratory judgment, seeking Section 8-101(c) to be declared unconstitutional, but this was dismissed.

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Katherine Black sued two defendants for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Ultimately, the trial did not go as she had expected; the jury rejected her claims.

On appeal, she argued that her trial was riddled with errors. She requested that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit overturn the jury’s verdict for several reasons. However, the court of appeals found there were no errors that warranted a reversal; therefore her request for a new trial was denied.

In 2012, the plaintiff, Katherine Black, and her husband Bernard were professors at Northwestern University School of Law.  In 2012, Bernard’s mother passed away and left behind roughly a $3 million estate. The Blacks expected to inherit 1/3 of that estate. As it turned out, Bernard’s mother cut them out of their will and left virtually the entire estate to Bernard’s homeless and mentally ill sister, Joanne, who lived in Denver. In late 2012, Bernard had himself appointed Joanne’s conservator and then worked to redirect much of her inheritance to himself and his wife.

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The Illinois Appellate Court has affirmed the general verdict in a second jury trial. The first jury trial resulted in a hung jury.

The plaintiff’s decedent had been admitted at a young age to multiple nursing homes and hospitals with an incurable, fatal neurodegenerative disease. The estate for the plaintiff filed a negligence lawsuit against one of the decedent’s treating physicians, maintaining actual claims under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act and the Survival Act.

The plaintiff’s estate alleged that the decedent was abused and neglected at her last nursing home, which defendant chose not to report.

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Susan Danzig and Carla Davis, plaintiffs, attended a student play put on by the Professional Theater and Dance Youth Academy (dance academy) at the Woodlawn facility at The University of Chicago Charter School Corp. (charter school) on Feb. 24, 2017. While there, the plaintiffs were instructed to sit on a bench by an employee of the charter school. The bench collapsed, injuring both Danzig and Davis.

The plaintiffs filed an identical one-count negligence lawsuit against the dance academy and the charter school on March 20, 2018. The charter school moved to dismiss the complaint, claiming the case was barred by the statute of limitations, citing the Illinois Tort Immunity Act, section 101(a), which requires claims to be filed within one year of the alleged injury.

On June 28, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a response and the dance academy moved to dismiss and filed a counterclaim against the charter school for contribution. The charter school moved to dismiss, also citing the one-year statute of limitations.

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Robert Greenhill, the plaintiff, was a sprinkler fitter for a construction project when he was injured at work by a freight elevator.

While he was entering the elevator, another passenger pressed the “door close” button and the elevator gate descended, striking Greenhill.

The Illinois First District Appellate Court held that the open-and-obvious doctrine was not available to the defendants, including REIT Management & Research LLC, Thyssenkrupp Elevator Corp., and the building manager, CW 600 W. Chicago LLC, because the risk of entering the elevator would not have been apparent to a reasonable person in the view of Greenhill.

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The Illinois Appellate Court for the Fourth District has overturned a $3.2 million jury verdict against a manufacturer in an asbestos death case. The appeals panel found that there was not enough evidence to show that a glazier’s contact with caulk and tape was a substantial factor in Willard Krumwiede’s fatal contraction of mesothelioma.

Krumwiede worked as a window glazier, installing glass into wood or aluminum frames from the mid-1950s until he retired in the early 1990s.

Krumwiede died at the age of 81 in September 2012. An autopsy showed that he had “malignant mesothelioma consistent with industrial exposure of asbestos.”

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David Lee Johnson, an employee of Universal AM-CAN Ltd. and Louis Broadwell LLC, was driving a truck owned by his employers above the speed limit while on a suspended license.  Johnson crashed his vehicle into a Jeep in front of him driven by the plaintiff, James Denton.

The crash pushed Denton’s car into a semitrailer tractor truck. Denton eventually managed to crawl out of the rear passenger window, but he suffered multiple traumatic injuries, including severe nerve and spinal damage. He required nine surgeries that were not altogether successful. His injuries have left him with a neurogenic bladder and he is unable to work. Denton also was required to see a counselor for depression and anxiety.

The driver of the truck, Johnson, had nine traffic-related offenses in the seven years before applying to work at Universal as well as four counts of felony reckless aggravated assault when he tried, with a wooden club, to break the headlights of the car occupied by four women who he claimed were tailgating him.

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