Appeal from the Circuit Court of McHenry County. No. 09-LA-433. Honorable Thomas A. Meyer, Judge, Presiding.
Alan C. Mendelson, of Chicago, for appellant.
Gregory T. Snyder, Joshua G. Vincent, Kimberly A. Jansen, and Jennifer L. Johnson, all of Hinshaw & Culbertson, of Chicago, for appellee.
Hudson and Birkett,
Justices concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] Plaintiff, Dominique Kay, appeals from the trial court's orders denying her motion for summary judgment, granting the motion for summary judgment of defendant, Centegra Health System, and denying her motion to reconsider. We affirm.
[¶2] I. BACKGROUND
[¶3] Kay filed a complaint in the circuit court of Lake County alleging negligence on the parts of Centegra, Dade Behring Inc., and Northern Illinois Medical Center (NIMC) relating to injuries that she sustained on October 6, 2004, when she tripped over a cable while working in a lab at NIMC. Centegra and NIMC filed a joint answer and affirmative defenses, including an affirmative defense claiming that Kay's claims were barred by the provisions of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (Act) (820 ILCS 305/1 et seq. (West 2004)).
[¶4] After the case was transferred to McHenry County, Centegra and NIMC filed a joint motion for summary judgment, arguing that Kay had sought benefits under the Act and that a workers' compensation arbitrator had decided that Centegra and NIMC were Kay's " joint employers" at the time of her injury and that both were required to provide Kay with benefits pursuant to the Act. As the Act provided the exclusive remedy for this workplace injury, summary judgment should enter.
[¶5] Kay filed a response to Centegra's motion but did not respond as to NIMC. Kay noted that Centegra was not a party to the workers' compensation case at the time of the hearing and that the decision of the workers' compensation arbitrator was not a final judgment on the merits, so that neither res judicata nor collateral estoppel applied. Kay also filed a motion for summary judgment on Centegra's second affirmative defense, arguing that no genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether Centegra was her employer at the time of her injury.
[¶6] The motions came up for hearing in June 2011. NIMC requested a finding that it was " not subject to common law damages." After Kay's attorney responded that he did not " mind entering a summary judgment in favor of" NIMC, the trial court entered such judgment and dismissed
NIMC with prejudice. When informed that the arbitrator's decision in the workers' compensation case was on appeal before the full Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission, the trial court continued the case until September 2011.
[¶7] The actual hearing on the motions was not held until September 2013. The court stated that it was considering the motions together and that " anything that's cited or used in support of either argument can come into play." The parties agreed to this standard. After hearing argument and reviewing extensive exhibits provided by both parties, the court concluded, especially in light of the fact that Centegra paid for the workers' compensation insurance that covered Kay, that Centegra was entitled to immunity under the Act. Therefore, the court granted summary judgment in favor of Centegra and denied Kay's motion for summary judgment. The court denied Kay's subsequent motion to reconsider, and this appeal followed.
[¶8] II. ANALYSIS
[¶9] Kay now contends that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Centegra and denying summary judgment in her favor. A grant of summary judgment is appropriate only when " the pleadings, depositions, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." 735 ILCS 5/2-1005(c) (West 2012). In determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, a court must construe all pleadings and attachments strictly against the movant and liberally in favor of, and in the light most favorable to, the nonmovant. Hilgart v. 210 Mittel Drive Partnership, 2012 IL App. (2d) 110943, ¶ 19, 978 N.E.2d 710, 365 Ill.Dec. 455. " A triable issue precluding summary judgment exists where the material facts are disputed, or where, the material facts being undisputed, reasonable persons might draw different inferences from the undisputed facts." Adams v. Northern Illinois Gas Co., 211 Ill.2d 32, 43, 809 N.E.2d 1248, 284 Ill.Dec. 302 (2004). The use of summary judgment is to be encouraged as an aid in the expeditious disposition of a lawsuit; however, as it is a drastic ...