Illinois Supreme Court Civil Issues Pending: Civil Procedure

[UPDATED THROUGH March 13, 2014] 

Bridgeview Health Care Center, Ltd. v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Company

Supreme Court Case Number: 116389

Appellate Court: First District, Third Division

Appellate Court Case Number: 1-12-1920

Issue Presented: When another state appears to have no law on subject at issue in a choice-of-law situation, is the law of Illinois as the forum automatically applied on the grounds that the states' law cannot conflict?

Summary: Plaintiff sued the defendant's insured for sending unsolicited faxes. The plaintiff's complaint purported to state three claims: first, for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, 47 USC § 227; second, for conversion; and third, for violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (815 ILCS 505/2.) When the defendant defended under a reservation of rights, the plaintiff filed a second lawsuit, naming both the defendant and its insured, seeking a declaration that the defendant had a duty to defend its insured pursuant to the comprehensive business liability insurance the insured had purchased. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment, with the plaintiff arguing that Illinois law applied, and the defendant arguing that Indiana had more significant contacts with the dispute, and therefore applied. The trial court followed Pekin Insurance Co. v. XData Solutions, Inc., a 2011 decision of the First District, holding that since there appeared to be no Indiana law on the matter, Illinois law automatically applied, and required a defense. The Appellate Court reversed. Following Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Shutts, the Court noted that the Due Process and Full Faith and Credit Clauses of the Federal Constitution forbid the application of a state's law to a dispute when that state had no significant contacts with the dispute. When the courts of a state have not spoken to an issue, the possibility remains that their ultimate resolution would differ with the forum. If the forum automatically applies its own law without consideration of its contacts with the dispute, the result of the case could ultimately depend on fortuitous circumstances, creating a constitutional violation. The Appellate Court therefore rejected Pekin's per se approach and remanded for a comparison of the contacts of Illinois and Indiana to the dispute. The Court instructed that if Indiana ultimately turned out to have greater contacts to the dispute, the trial court would be required to consider the totality of available authority - federal court decisions, decisions of other states, law reviews, treatises and other sources - and attempt to predict how Indiana courts would ultimately decide.

Opinion

 

Harris v. One Hope United, Inc.

Supreme Court Case Number: 117200

Appellate Court: First District, Division One

Appellate Court Case Number: 1-13-1152

Issue Presented: Does Illinois recognize the self-critical analysis evidentiary privilege?

Detailed summary of facts and lower court opinions

 

Huber v. American Accounting Association

Supreme Court Case Number: 117293

Appellate Court: Fourth District

Appellate Court Case Number: 4-13-0278

Issue Presented: What proof of timely filing is required when a notice of appeal is mailed before the due date, but not received by the Clerk until after time has expired?

Detailed summary of facts and lower court opinions

 

Magnetek v. Kirkland & Ellis, LLP

Supreme Court Case Number: 112910

Appellate Court: First District, Second Division

Appellate Court Case Number: 1-10-1067

Issue Presented: Does a claim for legal malpractice in a patent infringement suit fall under exclusive Federal patent jurisdiction where the claim rests upon certain defenses which were found in a subsequent suit involving another party to render the underlying patent unenforceable?

Appellate Court Opinion Summary: Defendant represented plaintiff in a patent infringement suit. The parties agreed to arbitrate the matter, and the arbitrator awarded the suing inventor damages for infringement. Subsequently, the plaintiff moved to vacate the arbitrator's award based on fraud in obtaining the underlying patent, but the motion was denied. In a subsequent infringement case involving the inventor and an unrelated third party, the patent at issue was declared unenforceable, largely upon the grounds urged in the plaintiff's motion to vacate. Plaintiff sued defendant for malpractice, alleging that defendant was negligent in not finding the evidence of invalidity soon enough for it to be raised in the underlying infringement action. The trial court granted defendant's motion to dismiss, finding that in order to establish the proximate cause element of the malpractice claim, plaintiff would have to prove that but for defendant's alleged negligence, it would have prevailed in the infringement action -- a substantial question of Federal patent law. The Appellate Court pointed out that under Federal law, a finding of patent invalidity in one action could be used by future litigants against the patent holder pursuant to collateral estoppel. Accordingly, the Court found that because the patent at issue had been found invalid in a later suit, largely upon the grounds urged by the plaintiff here, no disputed question of Federal patent law was at issue in the malpractice claim. Since it would be unnecessary to answer any substantial and disputed question of Federal patent law in order to adjudicate the malpractice claim, the Appellate Court reversed the trial court, finding that the state courts had subject matter jurisdiction over the malpractice claim.

Link to Opinion

 

 

People ex rel. Madigan v. Burge

Supreme Court Case Number: 115635

Appellate Court: First District, Sixth Division

Appellate Court Case Number: 1-11-2842

Issue Presented: May the Attorney General challenge the actions of the Police Pension Board through a separate lawsuit in the Circuit Court, or are the Board's actions subject to review only by routine administrative review?

Detailed summary of facts and lower court opinions

Opinion

People ex rel. Madigan v. Illinois Commerce Commission

Supreme Court Case Number: 116642

Appellate Court: First District, Second Division

Appellate Court Case Number: 1-12-2981

Issues Presented: (1) Did the Attorney General timely file its appeal from the order of the Illinois Commerce Commission imposing a 1.25% reconciliation surcharge on the respondent water company's customers? (2) Is section 10-201(a) of the Public Utilities Act, 220 ILCS 5/10-201a, unconstitutional?

Detailed summary of facts and lower court opinions

Opinion

 

 

 

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