Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. 90 L 10098. Honorable John Virgilio, Judge Presiding.
Rehearing Denied February 5, 1997. Released for Publication February 13, 1997.
The Honorable Justice Cahill delivered the opinion of the court. Theis and S.m. O'brien, JJ., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cahill
JUSTICE CAHILL delivered the opinion of the court:
Plaintiff filed a complaint against defendant, a psychiatrist, in June 1990, alleging medical malpractice and negligent infliction of emotional distress. After trial, a jury returned a $1,450,000 verdict for plaintiff.
Defendant argues on appeal that the trial court erred in denying a motion for a directed verdict based upon the two year statute of limitations for medical malpractice. We reverse, finding the complaint timed barred, and do not address the remaining arguments by defendant.
The plaintiff testified at trial, in her case in chief, that after graduating high school, she sang professionally in Memphis, Tennessee and studied sociology and music at Memphis State University. She married in 1971 and divorced in 1975. She then studied music at Peabody College in Nashville.
Plaintiff married her second husband in 1978 and moved to Chicago. She continued to work as a singer in the advertising business, but grew anxious about her career. She and her husband were also having marital problems, and so plaintiff decided to seek professional help. Her first therapy session with defendant, a licensed psychiatrist, was in 1981. She continued treatment of two or three sessions a week through 1986. During this time she divorced her second husband.
Plaintiff testified that in 1984 or 1985 defendant pulled her onto his lap during a therapy session. When asked by counsel what happened after he pulled her onto his lap, plaintiff stated: "I told him I wasn't five years old anymore. I got back in my chair. He said I'm glad you realize that." In later sessions they sat on the floor. She sat between defendant's legs, and sometimes they kissed. She then testified about a specific incident with defendant:
"I took my sweater off and I had like a camisole or something on and he began kissing my neck. And I remember thinking, God, I've been fantasizing for this, you know. I've been fantasizing about this for years. It's finally happening but I don't like it. And I didn't know--I didn't know how to stop it."
Plaintiff testified she had sexual intercourse with defendant during a therapy session at his office in May 1986. Plaintiff then asked defendant: "Does this mean you cannot be my therapist anymore?" Defendant replied he could still be her therapist. They had sexual intercourse five or six times at later sessions in 1986, but not at every session.
After sex with defendant plaintiff experienced nervousness and agitation. She would leave his office and walk down twelve flights of stairs. She also fantasized about punching her arms through windows and could not go straight home, but walked the streets. She felt guilty after sex with defendant because she had a boyfriend.
Plaintiff said that in the summer of 1986 her performance anxiety as a singer had not improved. She was creatively blocked, agitated, and had lost much of her confidence, so she attended a three-week workshop in Kauai, Hawaii. She then attended a nine-month workshop in California in October 1986.
Counsel asked plaintiff why she went to this workshop. She stated: "At the time I felt desperate. And I thought something was wrong with me. *** I was confused. I still thought that there was something wrong with me, that [defendant] couldn't help me, but maybe somebody else could."
Plaintiff returned to Chicago in the summer of 1987 and visited defendant at his office three times. They had sexual intercourse. Plaintiff did not pay for these visits. She told defendant she wanted to take their relationship out of the office, but he did not give her an answer. When counsel asked what she did after that, she said: "I cried. I cried and I cried. And then I have to say, it ...