On Aug. 2, 2005, Brandy Pirrello was a resident at Maryville Academy, a facility that houses and treats minors with behavioral problems. At the time, Brandy was 16 years old. She had been admitted to the facility in early 2005 and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was at risk of suicide or self-harm. On Aug. 2, 2005, Brandy leaped from her second-story window, landed on a cement patio and seriously injured herself.
On July 17, 2007, Brandy turned 18 years old. The day before, she filed a lawsuit against Maryville. Brandy claimed that Maryville had been negligent in choosing not to take precautions against the risk that she would try to hurt herself. Brandy was seeking compensation for the expenses that she incurred due to her hospitalization and related medical expenses.
However, the injury and the bulk of the expenses incurred between the ages of 16 and 18 and as such, fell under Illinois Family Expense Act. By the terms of the act, the responsibility for paying for Brandy’s medical care was her parents’ responsibility rather than Brandy herself. Therefore, her parents had the right to sue. Brandy’s parents did not join her as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. Brandy’s parents divorced when she was 8, and Brandy was on her father’s health insurance at the time of her injuries. Brandy’s father indicated at a deposition that he did not intend to be involved in her lawsuit.