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Pirrello v. Maryville Academy, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Third Division

October 8, 2014

BRANDY PIRRELLO, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
MARYVILLE ACADEMY, INC., Defendant-Appellee

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 09 L 8387. Honorable William E. Gomolinski, Judge Presiding.

SYLLABUS

In an action arising from the injuries plaintiff suffered when she jumped out of a second-story window at defendant academy, the trial court properly found that the claim under the Family Expense Act for the medical expenses incurred as a result of plaintiff's injuries did not relate back to the date of the initial complaint she timely filed against defendant after attaining majority and the trial court thereafter denied her leave to file a third-amended complaint adding her father as a party and asserting his claim under the Act, since the record showed that although the medical expenses were sent to the father's insurer, plaintiff's initial complaints did not make a claim under the Act in her parents' names for the medical expenses she incurred prior to turning 18, her parents never assigned their rights under the Act to plaintiff, and her father disclaimed any intention of joining plaintiff's suit, and under the circumstances, the relation-back doctrine was not applicable and the order granting summary judgment to defendant on the claim for the medical expenses plaintiff incurred before she turned 18 was upheld

Law Office of Stephen J. Coukos, Skokie (Stephen J. Coukos, of counsel), for appellant.

SmithAmundsen, LLC, Chicago (Michael Resis and Carmel M. Cosgrave, of counsel), for appellee.

JUSTICE MASON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Lavin and Hyman concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

MASON, JUSTICE.

Page 1262

[¶1] Plaintiff, Brandy Pirrello, appeals from partial summary judgment entered in favor of defendant, Maryville Academy, Inc., finding that Pirrello was not entitled to recover medical expenses incurred prior to her eighteenth birthday under a section of the Rights of Married Persons Act commonly referred to as the Family Expense Act (750 ILCS 65/15(a)(1) (West 2008)). The trial court found that the claim under the Act did not relate back to the filing of Pirrello's original complaint on July 16, 2009, and was thus barred by the applicable two-year statute of limitations. The court further denied Pirrello leave to file a third amended complaint adding her father as a party. We agree that the claim under the Act is time-barred and affirm.

[¶2] BACKGROUND

[¶3] On August 2, 2005, Pirrello was a resident of Maryville, which owns a facility in Bartlett, Illinois, that houses and treats young people with behavioral problems and mental health issues. Pirrello arrived at Maryville on June 30, 2005. Pirrello was then 16 years old and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and, according to the allegations of the complaint, was known to be at risk for suicide and other self-harming behaviors. On August 2, Pirrello jumped out a second-story window, landing on a cement patio and sustaining serious injuries. Pirrello claimed Maryville was negligent in failing to assess Pirrello's propensity for self-harming behavior and take precautions to protect her.

Page 1263

[¶4] Pirrello turned 18 on July 17, 2007, and filed her lawsuit on July 16, 2009. The complaint alleged that Pirrello had incurred hospital, medical and related expenses, but contained no claim under the Act for expenses incurred prior to the time Pirrello turned 18. Neither of Pirrello's parents was joined as a plaintiff and Pirrello did not allege that she was the assignee of her parents' right to recover medical expenses for her care and treatment while she was a minor. Pirrello later filed an amended and second amended complaint, but neither pleading asserted a claim under the Act either in the name of Pirrello's parents or in her own right as assignee.

[¶5] On August 20, 2013, Maryville filed a motion for partial summary judgment seeking a determination that Pirrello was not entitled to recover medical or other related expenses incurred from the date of the accident until she turned 18. Maryville's motion was ...


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