Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division
JANE DOE I, Special Administrator of the Estate of Jane Doe II, Deceased, Plaintiff-Appellant,
JOHN DOE I, as Parent and Guardian of John Doe II, a Minor; JANE DOE III, as Parent and Guardian of John Doe II, a Minor; JOHN DOE II, a Minor; JOHN DOE III, as Parent and Guardian of Jane Doe IV, a Minor; JANE DOE V, as Parent and Guardian of Jane Doe IV, a Minor; and JANE DOE IV, a Minor, Defendants-Appellees.
from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 2015 L 5725
Honorable William E. Gomolinski, Judge, Presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE HOFFMAN delivered the judgment of the
court, with opinion. Justices Cunningham and Delort concurred
in the judgment and opinion.
HOFFMAN, PRESIDING JUSTICE
1 The plaintiff, Jane Doe I, as Special Administrator of the
Estate of Jane Doe II, deceased, appeals from orders of the
trial court: dismissing all six counts of her complaint
predicated upon the alleged negligence of the defendants
resulting in the suicide death of Jane Doe II; denying her
motion to reconsider the dismissal of counts I, II and III;
and denying her motion for leave to file an amended
complaint. For the reasons which follow, we affirm.
2 The plaintiff filed the instant action against the
defendants, John Doe I and Jane Doe III, as parents and
guardians of John Doe II, a minor; John Doe II, a minor; John
Doe III and Jane Doe V, as parents and guardians of Jane Doe
IV, a minor; and Jane Doe IV, a minor, alleging negligence
which resulted in the suicide death of Jane Doe II. The
defendants, John Doe I, Jane Doe III and John Doe II moved,
pursuant to section 2-615 of the Code of Civil Procedure
(Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-615 (West 2014)), to dismiss counts I,
II and III of the plaintiff's complaint. The trial court
granted the motion and subsequently denied the
plaintiff's motion to reconsider and for leave to file an
amended complaint. The defendants, John Doe III, Jane Doe V
and Jane Doe IV filed a motion pursuant to section 2-615 of
the Code to dismiss counts IV, V and VI of the
plaintiff's complaint. The trial court also granted that
motion, and this appeal followed.
3 On June 10, 2013, Jane Doe II (decedent) committed suicide.
The plaintiff filed the instant action alleging in her
complaint that, over social media, John Doe II fraudulently
expressed to the decedent his intention to commit suicide or
inflict severe physical harm upon himself. She also alleged
that Jane Doe IV, with full knowledge that John Doe II had no
intention of committing suicide or inflicting severe physical
harm upon himself, nevertheless communicated with the
decedent over social media, expressing that it was John Doe
II's intention to commit suicide or inflict severe
physical harm upon himself. The plaintiff's complaint
asserted that, based upon the negligent communications from
John Doe II and Jane Doe IV and their failure to inform the
decedent that John Doe II had no intention of committing
suicide or inflicting severe physical harm upon himself, the
decedent developed "severe physical, psychological, and
emotional anguish and anxiety, precipitating her death by
suicide." The plaintiff alleged that John Doe I and Jane
Doe III, as parents and guardians of John Doe II, were
negligent in failing to monitor any conversations that John
Doe II was having over social media and in allowing their
minor son to fraudulently express to the decedent his
intention to commit suicide or inflict severe physical harm
upon himself. As to John Doe III and Jane Doe V, the
plaintiff alleged that, as parents and guardians of Jane Doe
IV, they were negligent in failing to monitor any
conversations that Jane Doe IV was having over social media
and in allowing their minor daughter to fraudulently express
to the decedent that John Doe II intended to commit suicide
or inflict severe physical harm upon himself.
4 The defendants filed motions pursuant to section 2-615 of
the Code seeking the dismissal of all six counts of the
plaintiff's complaint, alleging that, inter
alia, as a matter of law, the decedent's suicide was
an independent intervening cause which broke the chain of
causation between their alleged negligence and the
decedent's death. The trial court granted the motions and
dismissed all six counts of the complaint with prejudice and
denied the plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint.
5 As the instant appeal comes to us following the dismissal
of the plaintiff's claims pursuant to section 2-615 of
the Code, our review is de novo. Kanerva v.
Weems, 2014 IL 115811, ¶ 33. The question presented
is whether the allegations of the plaintiff's complaint,
when taken as true and viewed in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff, state a cause of action upon which relief may
be granted. Id.
6 To state a cause of action for negligence, a plaintiff must
plead facts which support a duty owed by the defendant, a
breach of that duty, an injury to the plaintiff proximately
caused by the breach, and damages. Boyd v. Travelers
Insurance Co., 166 Ill.2d 188, 194-95 (1995).
"[T]he general rule, applicable in negligence actions,
[is] that the injured party's voluntary act of suicide is
an independent intervening act which is unforeseeable as a
matter of law, and which breaks the chain of causation from
the tortfeasor's negligent conduct." Turcios v.
DeBruler Co., 2015 IL 117962, ¶ 20. "This rule
has been applied in wrongful death actions based on conduct
by the defendant amounting to negligence, provided [that] the
defendant was under no duty to decedent to prevent the
7 The "suicide rule, " as it has come to be known,
is based on principles of proximate cause. In actions for
negligence and intentional torts alike, the injury suffered
by a plaintiff must be the natural consequence, not merely a
remote consequence, of the defendant's act before there
can be a recovery in tort. Id. ¶ 27 (citing
Martin v. Heinold Commodities, Inc., 163 Ill.2d 33,
8 In urging reversal of the trial court's orders
dismissing all six counts of her complaint, the plaintiff
argues that she pled facts supporting all of the elements
necessary to sustain negligence claims against the minor
defendants and negligent supervision claims against their
parents. We disagree.
9 Contrary to the plaintiff's assertions, we find no
allegations in her complaint which support the conclusory
assertion appearing in each count that the decedent's
death "was a foreseeable result of the alleged
negligence." Although in ruling on a section 2-615
motion to dismiss the court must accept as true all well-pled
facts contained in the complaint under attack, the court does
not accept as true conclusions of fact or law that are not
supported by allegations of fact upon which the conclusions
rest. Jarvis v. South Oak Dodge, Inc., 201 Ill.2d
81, 86 (2002).
10 As our supreme court held in Turcios, when a
plaintiff seeks to recover damages predicated upon a
decedent's suicide, allegedly brought about through the
acts of the defendant, "the plaintiff must do more than
plead facts which, if proven, would establish that the
defendant's conduct was a cause in fact of the
suicide." Turcios, 2015 IL 1179623, ¶ 40.
"[A] plaintiff must plead facts demonstrating that the
suicide was foreseeable, i.e., that it was a likely
result of the defendant's conduct." Id.
11 Here, there are no factual allegations in any of the
counts contained in the plaintiff's complaint which, if
proven, would establish that the decedent's suicide was
the foreseeable result of the defendants' conduct.
Further, as to the negligent supervision claims against John
Doe I, Jane Doe III, John Doe III, and Jane Doe IV, pled in
counts I, II, IV and V, respectively, the plaintiff failed to
allege that these defendants were aware of specific instances
of prior conduct on the part of their children sufficient to
put them on notice that the complained-of acts of their
children were likely to ...