Illinois Appellate Court Reverses Dismissal Against Nursing Homes For Wrongful Death Filed Two Years After The Negligence But Before The Running Of The Same Two Years From The Date Of Death

The Illinois Appellate Court for the 1st District reversed and remanded a decision from a Cook County dismissal order.

Barbara Mickiewicz suffered from dementia and was a resident of the Glenbridge Nursing & Rehabilitation Centre Ltd. in northwest suburban Niles from April 2013 until Feb. 17, 2016.

Although she was never adjudicated disabled, she was considered legally disabled because of her dementia. Mickiewicz suffered several falls while at the nursing home, including the final one on Jan. 27, 2016. After that fall, she was transferred to a hospital emergency room. About 4 months later, she died of complications related to her injury.

On Feb. 16, 2018, Radoslaw Mickiewicz, as independent executor of the deceased woman’s estate, filed a lawsuit against Glenbridge Nursing as well as Generations at Regency LLC, another nursing home where Mickiewicz had resided.

Regency was subsequently dropped from the lawsuit.

Glenbridge Nursing moved to dismiss arguing that the complaint was filed after the two-year statute of limitations had passed. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss, based on precedent from the case Giles v. Parks, holding that the two-year statute of limitations begins tolling on the day of the injury or incapacitation and is not reset by the death of the incapacitated party. The Mickiewicz estate appealed.

It was acknowledged on appeal that precedent barred this lawsuit but argued that it was wrongly decided. The appellate court agreed. The appellate court noted that after the trial court’s grant dismissing the case, a different panel of the court rejected the conclusion of Giles in a separate case, finding that the court’s interpretation of the statute had been wrong and that the lawsuit was finally filed within two years of the date of death.

The Illinois Appellate Court agreed with this reasoning, though the court emphasized that the trial court correctly followed the established precedent at the time it granted its dismissal order.

The Illinois Appellate Court held that the action was authorized by Section 13-209(a) of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure which allows two years for a decedent’s estate to file any lawsuit for which the decedent had a valid cause of action at the time of their death.

The appellate court held that this two-year statute of limitations controlled even when the time permitted to file suit had already been extended due to the party’s incapacity prior to death, meaning that the Mickiewicz estate was permitted to file suit on the decedent’s behalf until April 28, 2018, more than two months after this suit was filed.

Accordingly, the Illinois Appellate Court reversed the dismissal order and remanded the case back to the trial court for further proceedings.

Radoslaw Mickiewicz v. Glenbridge Nursing & Rehabilitation Centre Ltd., et al., 2019 IL App (1st) 181771-U (Jan. 22, 2020).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling nursing home negligence lawsuits, nursing home fall cases, nursing home and rehabilitation abuse lawsuits and wrongful death cases for individuals, families and loved ones who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Cicero, Berwyn, Riverside, Oak Brook, Rosemont, Glenview, Northbrook, Barrington, Fox River Grove, Lake Zurich, Countryside, Willowbrook, Chicago (Gage Park, Little Village, Near West Side, North Lawndale, Englewood, Back of the Yards, Hyde Park, Wrigleyville, South Chicago, Roseland, Logan Square, Albany Park, Uptown, Bronzeville, Canaryville, Bridgeport), Niles, Schaumburg, Schiller Park, Hanover Park, Burbank, Crestwood and Blue Island, Ill.

Robert D. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976.

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