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01/13/94 MATTER ANN CONNORS v. ANN CONNORS

January 13, 1994

IN THE MATTER OF ANN CONNORS, A PERSON FOUND SUBJECT TO INVOLUNTARY ADMISSION, THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
ANN CONNORS, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court County of Sangamon. No. 93MH101. Honorable Diane L. Brunton, Judge Presiding.

Released for Publication March 2, 1994. As Corrected March 22, 1994.

Honorable Frederick S. Green, J., Honorable James A. Knecht, J., Honorable Carl A. Lund, J.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Green

JUSTICE GREEN delivered the opinion of the court:

This case concerns an unusual application of the doctrine of res judicata. It involves successive proceedings against the same respondent alleging she was subject to admission to a mental health facility (405 ILCS 5/1-114 (West 1992)) pursuant to section 1-119 of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (Code) (405 ILCS 5/1-119 (West 1992)). The first petition was filed in the circuit court of Sangamon County against respondent Ann Connors on March 31, 1993, seeking her involuntary admission pursuant to section 3-700 of the Code (405 ILCS 5/3-700 (West 1992)). Following a hearing on April 16, 1993, the court ruled the proof was insufficient and discharged respondent. On that same day, apparently after that ruling, a petition for emergency admission by certificate pursuant to section 3-600 of the Code (405 ILCS 5/3-600 (West 1992)) was filed in that court against respondent.

After a hearing on the second petition on April 23, 1993, the court entered an order finding respondent subject to involuntary commitment. Respondent has appealed contending first that the involuntary commitment was barred by the res judicata effect of the court's prior order of discharge. We agree and reverse for that reason. Respondent also maintains that the petition was not supported by the standard of proof required, other available treatment alternatives were not considered and hospitalization was not the least restrictive means of treatment. Because of our ruling on the res judicata issue, we need not consider the latter contentions of respondent.

The supreme court recently described the general principles of res judicata in the following words:

"Under the doctrine of res judicata, a final judgment on the merits rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction is conclusive as to the rights of the parties and their privies. ( Kinzer v. City of Chicago (1989), 128 Ill. 2d 437, 446[, 539 N.E.2d 1216, 1220]; Catlett v. Novak (1987), 116 Ill. 2d 63[, 506 N.E.2d 586]; People v. Kidd (1947), 398 Ill. 405, 408[, 75 N.E.2d 851, 853].) That judgment is an absolute bar to subsequent actions involving the same claims or demands by the same parties or their privies. (Kinzer[, 128 Ill. 2d at 446, 539 N.E.2d at 1220]; Catlett[, 116 Ill. 2d at 67, 506 N.E.2d at 588]; [ Kidd, 398 Ill. at 408, 75 N.E.2d at 853-54].) The doctrine extends not only to what actually was decided in the original action but also to matters which could have been decided in that suit. La Salle National Bank v. County Board of School Trustees (1975), 61 Ill. 2d 524, 529[, 337 N.E.2d 19, 22]." People ex rel. Burris v. Progressive Land Developers, Inc. (1992), 151 Ill. 2d 285, 294, 602 N.E.2d 820, 824-25.

The People's first contention against res judicata being applicable here arises from the fact that a local chief of police was the petitioner in the first case while Tom Connors, respondent's son, brought the second petition. The People contend that the "same parties" requirement for res judicata is not present. However, section 3-101 of the Code refers to the responsibility of the State's Attorney to "represent the People of the State of Illinois in court proceedings" of the nature involved here (405 ILCS 5/3-101 (West 1992)), thus indicating that the People are a party to proceedings for admissions to mental health proceedings. (See People v. R.C. (1988), 175 Ill. App. 3d 163, 529 N.E.2d 756.) As the People were a party adverse to respondent in the first case and also in the case on review, she can assert a res judicata defense if all the other aspects of res judicata are present. No contention is made that all the parties to the former case must have been brought into the second case. Any rule that res judicata is not applicable here because of a difference of parties would enable successive petitions for involuntary admission to be filed against a respondent ad infinitum as long as a new petitioner signed each new petition.

Second, the People maintain that the cause of action is different because the first petition merely sought an involuntary admission pursuant to section 3-700 of the Code while the second petit ion sought an involuntary admission under the emergency provision of section 3-600 of the Code whereby the respondent can be hospitalized before a hearing under the provisions of section 3-603 of the Code (405 ILCS 5/3-603 (West 1992)). Nevertheless, each petition was for an involuntary admission being imposed upon the respondent because she was a person "who is mentally ill and who because of [her] illness is unable to provide for [her] basic physical needs so as to guard [herself] from serious harm" as set forth in section 1-119(2) of the Code. 405 ILCS 5/1-119(2) (West 1992).

The first petition also alleqed that respondent was a person in need of involuntary admission because she was, due to her mental illness, "reasonably expected to inflict serious physical harm upon [herself] or another in the near future" as set forth in section 1-119(1) of the Code (405 ILCS 5/1-119(1) (West 1992)). A finding that respondent was not shown to be in need of involuntary admission in the first proceeding was a determination that neither the condition required by subsection (1) nor (2) of section 1-119 of the Code existed. Unlike the first petition, the second petition maintained that respondent was in need of immediate admission prior to hearing. However, if respondent was not in need of any involuntary admission, she could not have been in need of emergency admission.

As we subsequently explain, some evidence was presented at the second hearing which was not presented at the first hearing, but this evidence concerned a matter which had occurred prior to the first hearing. As this evidence could have been presented at the first hearing, it cannot be the basis for a different decision after the second hearing. Progressive Land Developers, Inc., 151 Ill. 2d at 294-95, 602 N.E.2d at 825.

Nothing we have stated is intended to indicate that once a respondent is discharged in a proceeding for involuntary admission, that respondent is immune from further proceedings to bring about an involuntary admission. Rather, we are holding that some change of circumstances must be shown before a subsequent involuntary admission is permissible. The highly technical language of section 24 of the Restatement (Second) of Judgments explains the rule which we deem applicable here in the manner as follows:

"(1) When a valid and final judgment rendered in an action extinguishes the plaintiff's claim pursuant to the rules of merger or bar (see §§ §§ 18, 19), the claim extinguished includes all rights of the plaintiff to remedies against the defendant with respect to all or any part of the ...


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