JANNIE LINDSEY, as Plenary Guardian of the Person and Estate of Laura Lindsey, a Disabled Person, Plaintiff-Appellee,
BUTTERFIELD HEALTH CARE II, INC., d/b/a Meadowbrook Manor of Naperville; THE BUTTERFIELD HEALTH CARE GROUP, INC., d/b/a Butterfield Health Care Group, Inc.; JIN RONG WANG; and VIVIAN SALVADOR, Defendants Butterfield Health Care II, Inc., d/b/a Meadowbrook Manor of Naperville, Defendant-Appellant.
from the Circuit Court of Du Page County, No. 15-L-222; the
Hon. Kenneth L. Popejoy, Judge, presiding.
Clausen Miller P.C., of Chicago (Rodd E. Elges and Paul V.
Esposito, of counsel), for appellant.
Novosad and Nicole Schroeder, of Levin & Perconti, and
Leslie J. Rosen, of Leslie J. Rosen Attorney at Law P.C.,
both of Chicago, for appellee
JUSTICE SCHOSTOK delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Hudson and Justice Spence
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
SCHOSTOK JUSTICE .
1 In this consolidated appeal, the defendant Butterfield
Health Care II, Inc., doing business as Meadowbrook Manor of
Naperville (Meadowbrook), claims that certain of its
documents are privileged and that the circuit court of Du
Page County should not have ordered it to produce them during
discovery in a lawsuit filed against it by plaintiff, Jannie
Lindsey, as the guardian of Laura Lindsey. Meadowbrook
insists that the Medical Studies Act (735 ILCS 5/8-2101
et seq. (West 2014)) and the Long-Term Care Peer
Review and Quality Assessment and Assurance Protection Act
(Quality Assurance Act) (745 ILCS 55/1 et seq. (West
2014)) protect it against having to disclose those documents.
We agree with the trial court that the documents at issue
should be produced.
3 On April 29, 2012, 88-year-old Laura Lindsey was allegedly
injured during a fall while she was in the care of
Meadowbrook, a nursing home. On May 9, 2012, employees of
Meadowbrook completed a report regarding Laura's injury.
On January 9, 2014, the plaintiff filed a complaint on
Laura's behalf against Meadowbrook, sounding in
negligence. The plaintiff subsequently issued written
discovery requests to Meadowbrook, seeking all investigation
reports. Meadowbrook refused to disclose the May 9, 2012,
report, asserting that it was privileged pursuant to the
Quality Assurance Act and the Medical Studies Act because it
was "prepared for the Facility's Quality Assurance
4 On August 25, 2015, the plaintiff filed a motion to compel,
arguing that the May 9, 2012, report was authored neither for
the purpose of internal quality control nor by an internal
quality control committee. Meadowbrook opposed the motion and
gave the report to the trial court for its in camera
review. In support of its objection, Meadowbrook filed an
affidavit of Patricia Stambaugh, its administrator at the
time of Laura's fall. Stambaugh averred that, as
Meadowbrook's administrator, she was familiar with
Meadowbrook's quality assurance protocols.
Meadowbrook's quality assurance process required the
completion of internal quality-assurance-investigation
reports relating to incidents or accidents involving resident
injuries. These reports were prepared for the purpose of
being considered by Meadowbrook's quality assurance
committee and/or its fall committee. (The fall committee met
to determine ways that the risk of resident falls might be
reduced.) The quality assurance committee met on a quarterly
basis, and the fall committee met on a weekly basis.
5 On October 15, 2015, following a hearing and the trial
court's in camera review of the report, the
trial court ordered Meadowbrook to disclose the report. The
trial court found that the report was simply factual and that
it did not contain recommendations for improvement. The trial
court further noted that there was no indication that the
report had been reviewed by any committee.
6 On December 17, 2015, after Meadowbrook continued to refuse
to disclose the report, the trial court found Meadowbrook in
contempt. Meadowbrook appealed from that order. That appeal
was docketed in this court as appeal No. 2-16-0042.
7 Thereafter, while updating discovery, Meadowbrook
discovered six written witness statements that were prepared
during the course of its internal investigation. It provided
the plaintiff with a supplemental privilege log that included
the statements, and it then filed a motion for a protective
order. In support of its motion, Meadowbrook attached an
affidavit of Stambaugh. She stated that the statements were
prepared pursuant to Meadowbrook's quality assurance
practices. On April 6, 2016, the trial court denied
Meadowbrook's motion and ruled that the statements were
not privileged. After Meadowbrook indicated that it would
refuse to comply with the trial court's order, the trial
court held Meadowbrook in contempt. Meadowbrook appealed from
that order. That appeal was docketed in this court as appeal
No. 2-16-0268. On May 5, 2016, this court consolidated
Meadowbrook's two appeals for review.
9 On appeal, Meadowbrook argues that the trial court erred in
ordering disclosure of the May 9, 2012, report and the six
witness statements. Meadowbrook argues that the report and
the statements were privileged ...