APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE PATRICK E. McGANN, JUDGE PRESIDING.
Presiding Justice Hoffman delivered the opinion of the court: Theis and S. O'brien, JJ., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hoffman
PRESIDING JUSTICE HOFFMAN delivered the opinion of the court:
The plaintiff, Kristina Bradbury, filed the instant wrongful death action in the circuit court of Cook County. The defendant, St. Mary's Hospital of Kankakee, filed a motion to transfer venue to the circuit court of the 21st Judicial Circuit, Kankakee County, Illinois, pursuant to section 2-104 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS5/2-104 (West 1992)), alleging that venue was improperly fixed in Cook County. All of the other defendants filed a similar venue motion and, in the alternative, a motion to transfer the action to Kankakee County pursuant to the doctrine of forum non conveniens. On February 15, 1994, the defendants' motions were denied.
The defendants filed timely petitions for permissive interlocutory appeals. St. Mary's Hospital filed a petition pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 306(a)(4), and the other defendants filed pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 306(a)(2) and (4) (134 Ill. 2d R. 306(a)(2), (4)). We denied both petitions, and the defendants filed petitions for leave to appeal to the supreme court pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 315 (134 Ill. 2d R. 315).
On February 1, 1995, the supreme court granted the defendants' petitions and, in the exercise of its supervisory authority, remanded these consolidated appeals to this court for consideration on the merits. In compliance with the mandate of the supreme court, we now consider the propriety of the denial of the defendants' motions to transfer this action to Kankakee County.
On September 30, 1991, the plaintiff was admitted to St. Mary's Hospital and treated by Bernard Ruder, now deceased, and the defendants, Roger Taylor and Patricia Podach, who were all employees of the defendant, Westwood Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ltd. On October 1, 1991, after the plaintiff was diagnosed as presenting a condition of abruptio placenta, Joseph Lee Bradbury was born by caesarean delivery.
At the time of his birth, Joseph was in respiratory distress and suffering from intraventricular hemorrhaging. He was transferred from St. Mary's Hospital to the University of Chicago Hospital in Cook County where he died on October 4, 1991.
On September 27, 1993, the plaintiff filed the instant wrongful death action in the circuit court of Cook County seeking recovery against the defendants for their alleged medical negligence resulting in Joseph's death. On November 9, 1993, the defendants filed their motions to transfer this action to Kankakee County.
First, we address the denial of the defendants' motions to transfer by reason of improper venue. Section 2-101 of the Code provides in pertinent part as follows:
"Except as otherwise provided in this Act, every action must be commenced (1) in the county of residence of any defendant who is joined in good faith and with probable cause for the purpose of obtaining a judgment against him or her and not solely for the purpose of fixing venue in that county, or (2) in the county in which the transaction or some part thereof occurred out of which the cause of action arose." 735 ILCS 5/2-101 (West 1992).
In this case, the plaintiff does not contend that any of the defendants are residents of Cook County. The plaintiff argues, however, that because Joseph died in Cook County, venue is proper here because some part of the transaction out of which this action arose occurred in Cook County.
The defendants assert that because none of their alleged negligent acts or omissions occurred in Cook County, for venue purposes, the "transaction" out of which this cause of action arose took place solely in Kankakee County. St. Mary's Hospital even goes so far as to contend that death is not an element of a cause of action for wrongful death. We disagree.
The Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180/0.01 et seq. (West 1992)), provides a remedy to the surviving spouse and next of kin for their pecuniary injuries suffered as a consequence of a decedent's death. While it is true that the action is premised upon the wrongful conduct of the defendant in breach of a duty owed to the decedent resulting in death (see Vaughn v. Granite City Steel Division of National Steel Corp. (1991), 217 Ill. App. 3d 46, 576 N.E.2d 874, 159 Ill. Dec. 951), the Wrongful Death Act does not provide for the survival of a right of action the decedent had for damages he incurred. The Wrongful Death Act governs the right of the persons designated by the statute to recover for their own pecuniary injuries suffered as a consequence of the death of the decedent. ( Wyness v. Armstrong World Industries, Inc. (1989), 131 Ill. 2d 403, 546 N.E.2d 568, 137 Ill. Dec. 623.) Consequently, the action accrues upon the decedent's death and provides a remedy for damages incurred as a result of the death itself. ( ...