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07/17/89 Philip A. Miller, v. Arnold Tobin

July 17, 1989

PHILIP A. MILLER, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

ARNOLD TOBIN, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT

542 N.E.2d 173, 186 Ill. App. 3d 175, 134 Ill. Dec. 173 1989.IL.1107

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County; the Hon. Jack Hoogasian, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE DUNN delivered the opinion of the court. LINDBERG concurs. JUSTICE McLAREN, Dissenting.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE DUNN

Plaintiff, Philip Miller, appeals from a judgment of the circuit court of Lake County dismissing his complaint against defendant, Arnold Tobin, a physician engaged in the practice of psychiatry. On appeal, plaintiff contends that the trial court should not have applied the two-year statute of limitations of section 13-212 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 110, par. 13-212) to his complaint. We affirm.

On November 13, 1987, plaintiff filed a complaint in the circuit court of Lake County alleging that he was injured as a result of defendant's violation of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act (Confidentiality Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 91 1/2, pars. 801 through 817). Plaintiff specifically alleged that while he and his wife were receiving marriage counseling from defendant, defendant revealed confidential information to plaintiff's wife that plaintiff had specifically asked defendant not to reveal. Plaintiff also claimed that he was injured because defendant breached an implied contract.

Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the statute of limitations had expired and that plaintiff had not complied with the statutory requirements for bringing a malpractice action. The trial court concluded that plaintiff's complaint was not a malpractice action, but the limitations period set out in section 13--212 did apply and time barred the suit. While both counts were dismissed, plaintiff appeals only from the dismissal of the count based on the Confidentiality Act.

While the Confidentiality Act provides that suit may be brought as a result of its violation (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 91 1/2, par. 815), it does not specify what the statute of limitations is with respect to such a suit. Plaintiff argues that the statute of limitations set out in section 13-212 does not apply to the present case because his complaint does not sound in malpractice. Defendant contends that section 13-212 applies to this action because plaintiff's injury arose out of treatment by defendant.

Section 13--212 states in pertinent part:

"§ 13-212. Physician or hospital. (a) Except as provided in Section 13-215 of this Act, no action for damages for injury or death against any physician, dentist, registered nurse or hospital duly licensed under the laws of this State, whether based upon tort, or breach of contract, or otherwise, arising out of patient care shall be brought more than 2 years after the date on which the claimant knew, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have known, or received notice in writing of the existence of the injury or death for which damages are sought in the action, whichever of such date occurs first, but in no event shall such action be brought more than 4 years after the date on which occurred the act or omission or occurrence alleged in such action to have been the cause of such injury or death." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 110, par. 13-212(a).)

While this section clearly applies to malpractice actions against physicians, it is a general limitations section designed to apply to all cases against physicians arising out of patient care. Therefore, the pertinent issue is not whether plaintiff's suit alleges malpractice, but whether plaintiff's injuries arose out of patient care.

A statute of limitations is to be construed in light of its objectives and to fulfill the object for which it was enacted. (Mathis v. Hejna (1969), 109 Ill. App. 2d 356, 360, 248 N.E.2d 767, 769.) Section 13--212 is meant to apply to suits arising out of patient care. The phrase "arising out of" is broad and generally means "originating from," "growing out of," or "flowing from." (6 C.J.S. Arise 525, 526 (1975).) In Burgdorff v. Siqueira (1982), 109 Ill. App. 3d 493, 440 N.E.2d 920, defendant wrongfully advised plaintiff to retire from his job for health reasons. The Burgdorff court concluded that plaintiff's subsequent loss of income was an injury arising out of patient care; therefore, the medical malpractice statute of limitations applied. Burgdorff, 109 Ill. App. 3d at 495-96, 440 N.E.2d at 922-23.

In the present case, plaintiff's alleged injury occurred during the course of defendant's treatment of plaintiff's wife. This situation is analogous to an issue we faced in Horak v. Biris (1985), 130 Ill. App. 3d 140, 474 N.E.2d 13. In Horak, defendant claimed that plaintiff did not have standing to sue for malpractice because the actions complained of were directed to plaintiff's wife, not plaintiff. (Horak, 130 Ill. App. 3d at 146, 474 N.E.2d at 18.) We concluded that plaintiff could maintain a malpractice action because plaintiff and his wife were receiving treatment "for the common purpose of rehabilitating their marital relationship" (Horak, 130 Ill. App. 3d at 146, 474 N.E.2d ...


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