Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Statute of Repose Case
The Illinois Supreme Court granted leave to appeal Lawler v. The Univ. of Chicago Medical Center, No. 120745, 1st Dist, a case in which the First District Appellate Court allowed the relation back doctrine to apply to the statute of repose to allow the plaintiff to add a wrongful death claim. As reported by the ISBA, “This case presents question as to whether medical malpractice statute of repose (735 ILCS 5/13-212(A)) barred application of relation back doctrine (735 ILCS 5/2-616(b)) for purposes of adding Wrongful Death Act claim to existing (and timely-filed) medical malpractice claim.
While trial court found that relation back doctrine did not apply, and thus plaintiff’s wrongful death action was essentially new claim that was filed beyond statute of repose, the Appellate Court, in reversing trial court, found that relation back doctrine did apply, so as to allow plaintiff to add wrongful death action, where: (1) plaintiff’s decedent had filed timely medical malpractice action; and (2) plaintiff’s wrongful death claim arose from same transaction as described in decedent’s original complaint. The Court further noted that the relation back doctrine had previously been applied to medical malpractice cases, where medical providers received adequate notice of same operative facts leading to claimed malpractice in the original complaint.”