Vincent v. Alden- Park Strathmoor, Inc. (399 Ill.App.3d 1102)

Vincent v. Alden- Park StrathmoorArticles: Illinois

Vincent v. Alden- Park Strathmoor, Inc. (399 Ill.App.3d 1102)

CASE:
Vincent v. Alden- Park Strathmoor, Inc. (399 Ill.App.3d 1102)
PARTIES:
Plaintiff (Appellee) – Vincent, Legal Representative for the Estate of Marjorie Vincent (deceased)
Defendant (Appellant) – Alden- Park Strathmoor, Inc.
COURT:
Appellate Court of Illinois (2010)
PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

Plaintiff estate filed suit against Alden- Park Strathmoor, seeking damages for personal injuries that the deceased resident sustained prior to her death and while in the home’s care. The claim asserted that the home’s willful and wonton conduct violated the Nursing Home Care Act, rendering home liable for actual damages, costs, and attorney’s fees, with a reservation of rights to seek punitive damages. Alden- Park Strathmoor filed a motion to strike plaintiff’s reservation of right to request punitive damages. The trial court granted Alden- Park Strathmoor’s motion. Plaintiff appealed.

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

Plaintiff, on behalf of the estate of Marjorie Vincent, brought a three- count action against the defendant, suing for personal injuries that Marjorie sustained prior to her death and while in the care of Alden- Park Strathmoor.

Count 1 alleged that defendant’s negligent actions violated the Nursing Home Care Act, and plaintiff sought $50,000 in compensatory damages, plus attorney’s fees. Count 2 alleged that defendant’s actions violated the Wrongful Death Act and plaintiff sought $50,000 in compensatory damages. In Count 3 the plaintiff alleged under the “Nursing Home Care Act- Survival Act- Willful and Wonton,” that defendant’s actions rendered them liable for actual damages, costs, and attorney’s fees, as well as preserved the right for plaintiff to seek punitive damages for defendant’s willful and wanton conduct.

OUTCOME AT TRIAL:

The trial court granted the defendant’s motion to strike, finding that punitive damages did not survive the resident’s death.

ISSUES ON APPEAL:

Are common- law punitive damages available in an action brought by the personal representative of the estate of a deceased nursing home resident based on the Survival Act for willful and wanton violations of the Nursing Home Care Act which caused injury and ultimately caused her death?

SUPREME COURT HOLDINGS:
No
RELEVANT APPLICATION OF LAW:

“The Survival Act does not create a statutory cause of action, rather, it permits an estate representative to maintain those statutory or common- law actions that had already accrued to the decedent before his or her death and that would otherwise have abated under the common law at the time of death.”

  • National Bank v. Norfolk & Western Ry. Co., 73 Ill.2d 160,172

Client Reviews

★★★★★
Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
★★★★★
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric