The Illinois Supreme Court’s September Term begins Tuesday, September 10, 2019, with oral arguments scheduled for September 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, and 19. A total of 19 cases will be heard – 5 criminal and 14 civil. The following civil cases are scheduled for argument this Term:
The Robert R. McCormick Foundation v. Arthur J. Gallagher Investment Management Services, No. 123936
Lakewood Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, LLC v. The Illinois Department of Public Health, No. 124019
Horsehead Corp. v. Illinois Department of Revenue and Illinois Independent Tax Tribunal, No. 124155
Ammons v. Canadian National Railroad Co., No. 124283
Andrews v. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, No. 124283
Iwan Ries & Co. v. City of Chicago, No. 124469
Rushton v. Illinois Department of Corrections, No. 124552
Sanders v. Illinois Department of Corrections, No. 124565
Hernandez v. Lifeline Ambulance, LLC, No. 124610
Dew-Becker v. Wu, No. 124472
Raab v. Frank, No. 124641
Zamuido v. Ochoa, No. 124676
Crim v. Dietrich, No. 124318
Yakich v. Aulds, No. 123667
Below is a summary for one of these cases, Crim v. Dietrich. Summaries for this case and others pending in the Illinois Supreme Court can be found in our Cases Pending publication, accessible to ALA members on the ALA's website.
Crim v. Dietrich
This case presents a question of first impression regarding whether an appellate court’s reversal of a partial directed verdict resurrects claims that were tried to a jury but not subject to a post-trial motion or pursued on appeal.
Plaintiffs filed suit against Defendant alleging two claims related to the delivery of a child: (1) failure to obtain informed consent, and (2) professional negligence. The case proceeded to a jury trial. At the close of the Plaintiffs’ case, Defendant moved for a partial directed verdict on the issue of informed consent. The circuit court granted the motion and entered a partial directed verdict as to that claim. The remaining professional negligence claim went to the jury, which ultimately returned a verdict for the Defendant. Plaintiffs did not file a post-trial motion, but they did file an appeal. In their brief on appeal, Plaintiffs limited the scope of the appeal to the partial directed verdict on the informed consent claim and did not raise any arguments challenging the jury’s verdict on the professional negligence claim.
The Illinois Appellate Court’s opinion, 2016 IL App (4th) 150843 (“Crim I”), was limited to the informed consent issue. The Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District reversed and remanded to the circuit court “for such other proceedings as required by order of this court.”
On remand, Defendant filed a motion in limine to preclude Plaintiffs from raising issues related to the professional negligence claim because, according to Defendant, that issue was never appealed. Plaintiffs, however, argued that the reversal on the informed consent claim changed the tenor of the trial such that both the lack of informed consent and professional negligence claims should go to the jury. The circuit court denied Defendant’s motion in limine, but certified a question for interlocutory appeal to determine whether the Fourth District’s original reversal and remand for a new trial required a trial de novo on all of Plaintiffs’ claims. The Fourth District issued an order concluding that, because the mandate and opinion in Crim I used general language, “the entire judgment was abrogated and the trial court is to proceed as if hearing the case for the first time.” The Fourth District instructed the circuit court “to return to that moment in the trial when that judgment was entered” and “proceed as if no trial had taken place.”
In its petition for leave to appeal, Defendant argues that the new trial should be limited to the only issue the Plaintiffs appealed in Crim I—the informed consent claim. The Fourth District’s holding, Defendant maintained, violated the general rule that failure to file a post-trial motion following a jury trial prevents review of the jury’s verdict. Furthermore, the Fourth District’s mandate in Crim I reversing and remanding the “order on appeal” could not have encompassed the jury verdict because the only order on appeal was the trial court’s directed verdict on the informed consent claim. The mandate, therefore, could not have revived the professional negligence claim. Rather, once the 30-day deadline for filing post-trial motions passed, Defendant argued, the jury’s verdict on the professional negligence claim became a final judgment.
In their answer, Plaintiffs contend that their notice of appeal encompassed not only the directed verdict, but also all subsequent rulings by the circuit court such that Plaintiffs’ appeal additionally included the jury verdict. Plaintiffs also argue that the Fourth District correctly concluded that the mandate in the original appeal remanded the entire case back to the circuit court as if no trial had occurred, thereby requiring a second trial on Plaintiffs’ professional negligence claim.