Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division
SHIRLEY HAYES, Independent Administrator of the Estate of Ann Sanders, Deceased, Plaintiff-Appellee,
VICTORY CENTRE OF MELROSE PARK SLF, INC. and VICTORY CENTRE OF RIVER WOODS, LLC, Defendants Victory Centre of River Woods, LLC, Defendant-Appellant.
from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 15 L 5263
Honorable Larry G. Axelrood, Judge Presiding.
JUSTICE HALL delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Reyes and Justice Gordon concurred
in the judgment and opinion.
1 Pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 307(a) (eff. Nov.
1, 2016), the defendant, Victory Centre of River Woods, LLC,
appeals the order of the circuit court of Cook County denying
its motion to stay the wrongful death claim pending
arbitration of the survival and family expense claims raised
in the plaintiff's complaint. The plaintiff did not file
a responsive brief, and we entered an order taking the appeal
for consideration on the record on appeal and the
defendant's brief only.
2 On appeal, the defendant contends that the circuit court
erred when it denied the stay. For the reasons set forth
below, we reverse the circuit court's order denying the
4 The following facts are relevant to the resolution of this
appeal. On March 1, 2013, Ann Sanders entered into a
residence agreement with the defendant, a licensed supportive
living facility. Pursuant to an addendum to the residence
agreement, the parties agreed that all claims arising out of
that agreement, including those of malpractice, could not be
brought in a court of law but were to be submitted to binding
arbitration. Subsequently, Mrs. Sanders, who suffered from
diabetes, suffered a diabetic shock and lapsed into a
diabetic coma. She was transferred to Gottlieb Hospital where
she died on May 21, 2013.
5 On May 21, 2015, the plaintiff, Shirley Hayes, independent
administrator of the estate of Ann Sanders, deceased, filed a
complaint against the defendant and Victory Centre of Melrose
Park SLF, Inc., alleging negligence and seeking damages in
connection with the death of Mrs. Sanders. In the complaint,
the plaintiff alleged that Mrs. Sanders's death was due
to the negligence of the defendant. The plaintiff sought
compensation pursuant to the Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS
180/1 et seq. (West 2014)), the Rights of Married
Persons Act (750 ILCS 65/15 (West 2014)) (commonly known as
the Family Expense Act), and the Survival Act (755 ILCS
5/27-6 (West 2014)).
6 The defendant filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to section
2-619(a)(9) of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS
5/2-619(a)(9) (West 2014)). The defendant maintained that the
addendum to the residence agreement required that the family
expense and survival claims be submitted to binding
arbitration for resolution and requested that those claims be
dismissed from the complaint. The defendant further requested
that the wrongful death claim be stayed until the conclusion
of arbitration proceedings. In response, the plaintiff
maintained that the arbitration provisions were unenforceable
but, assuming they were, the court should proceed first on
the wrongful death claim.
7 The circuit court ruled that the family expense and
survival claims were subject to binding arbitration. The
court dismissed those claims but denied the motion to stay
the wrongful death proceedings. This appeal followed.
9 The sole issue on appeal is whether the circuit court erred
in denying the defendant's request to stay the
proceedings on the plaintiff's wrongful death claim
pending the outcome of the arbitration proceedings.
10 I. Standard of Review
11 Normally, in an interlocutory appeal from a ruling on a
motion to stay proceedings, the circuit court's decision
is reviewed under the abuse of discretion standard.
Certain Underwriters atLloyd's, London v.
Boeing Co., 385 Ill.App.3d 23, 36 (2008). In this case,
the facts at issue are not in dispute, and the circuit court
made no findings in denying the stay. Therefore the decision
to deny the stay is reviewable de novo. See Bass
v. SMG, Inc., 328 Ill.App.3d 492, 496 (2002) (the
appellate court ...