Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 99 D 079287 The Honorable Gay Lloyd Lott, Judge Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Cousins
Plaintiff, Alexis Mitchell, individually and on behalf of her minor children, M.J. and N.J., filed a complaint against defendant, Raymond Banary. In her complaint, plaintiff sought to establish paternity and to impose support obligations for the benefit of twin boys that she conceived through artificial insemination. Defendant was not the semen donor. The complaint sought recovery on the basis of breach of an oral contract and promissory estoppel. The complaint further alleged that defendant had support obligations pursuant to the Illinois Parentage Act (Act) (750 ILCS 40/1 et seq. (West 1998)).
Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that plaintiff failed to set forth a legally recognized basis for relief under the Act. The motion to dismiss further alleged that the purported oral agreement was unenforceable under the Frauds Act (740 ILCS 80/1 (West 1998)) and contravened Illinois public policy. The trial court granted defendant's motion and plaintiff's complaint was dismissed in its entirety.
On appeal, plaintiff argues that: (1) the trial court erred in finding that plaintiff did not properly plead a cause of action for promissory estoppel or breach of an oral agreement; (2) the trial court erred in finding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction; and (3) the Act unconstitutionally discriminates between children born through artificial insemination to married persons and children born through artificial insemination to unmarried persons.
According to plaintiff's complaint, plaintiff is a single, 40-year- old African-American woman. Defendant is a Caucasian male who was 57 years old at the time of the filing of the complaint. Plaintiff and defendant first met in 1986 and began an intimate relationship that lasted until 1996. When they met, defendant introduced himself as "Jim Richardson" and indicated that he was divorced. However, in 1996 plaintiff discovered that defendant was not named Jim Richardson and that he was married.
During their relationship, the parties discussed marriage. Defendant told plaintiff that he would have to wait until retirement for marriage because the community where he resided would not accept a black woman. Upon retirement, defendant promised plaintiff that they could move to another community and be married.
The parties also discussed plaintiff's desire to have children with defendant. Despite sexual relations, plaintiff did not become pregnant and it became apparent that defendant was not capable of fathering children. In 1991, defendant allegedly suggested to plaintiff that she become artificially inseminated. Defendant provided financial assistance for the insemination procedure; accompanied plaintiff to the doctor's office for examinations; assisted plaintiff by injecting her with medication designed to enhance her fertility; and decided with plaintiff that the sperm be from a Caucasian donor so that the offspring would appear to be a product of their relationship. Plaintiff further alleges that defendant orally promised to support the child when it was born; however, no writing memorializes this representation.
Plaintiff became pregnant and gave birth to twin boys in 1993. After the birth, defendant allegedly acknowledged the children as his own. He also provided support for them in the form of monthly payments of cash and the purchase of food, clothing, furniture, toys and play equipment. In her complaint, plaintiff further describes vacations with defendant and that defendant also paid for the children's medical and travel expenses.
After plaintiff discovered defendant's marital status, she and defendant terminated their relationship. Since 1996, defendant has stopped providing financial support for the children.
Plaintiff filed her three-count complaint on May 11, 1999. The first two counts sought to establish an obligation of support on the basis of breach of oral contract and promissory estoppel. The third count requested a declaration of paternity and obligation of support pursuant to the Act.
Defendant filed a motion to dismiss under section 2-619.1 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-619.1 (West 1998)). Defendant argued that count III should be dismissed pursuant to section 2-615 (735 ILCS 5/2-615 (West 1998)), where plaintiff failed to set forth a legally recognized basis for the imposition of a father-child relationship or for child support under the Act. Defendant further argued that counts I and II should be dismissed under section 2-619 (735 ILCS 5/2-619 (West 1998)) because plaintiff's common law claims were unenforceable under the provisions of the Frauds Act and contravened Illinois public policy.
On December 21, 1999, the trial court held a hearing on this matter. On January 14, 2000, the trial court issued a written order granting the defendant's motion and dismissed the case in its entirety.
Plaintiff appeals. We affirm.