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Hayes v. Victory Centre of Melrose Park SLF, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division

November 9, 2017

SHIRLEY HAYES, Independent Administrator of the Estate of Ann Sanders, Deceased, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
VICTORY CENTRE OF MELROSE PARK SLF, INC. and VICTORY CENTRE OF RIVER WOODS, LLC, Defendants Victory Centre of River Woods, LLC, Defendant-Appellant.

         Appeal 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.

          OPINION

          HALL JUSTICE.

         ¶ 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 stay.

         ¶ 3 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 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.[1] 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.

         ¶ 8 ANALYSIS

         ¶ 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 ...


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