from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit No.
16-L-457, Will County, Illinois. The Honorable Roger D.
Rickmon, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE McDADE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Carter and Justice Lytton
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 The plaintiff, Patricia Hand, sued her husband, William
Hand, for negligence stemming from a vehicle accident that
occurred in Indiana. The circuit court dismissed the action
after finding that an Indiana statute addressing interspousal
immunity applied to bar her cause of action. On appeal,
Patricia argues that the court erred when it dismissed her
complaint, as she contends that Illinois law, which does not
prohibit interspousal tort actions, should apply. We reverse
and remand for further proceedings.
3 Patricia and William married in 1971 and have lived in
Illinois since December 15, 1971. On June 24, 2014, they
embarked in a motor home for Orlando, Florida, for a
vacation. Two grandchildren accompanied them on the trip. On
July 1, 2014, they began their return trip, which included
two overnight stops-one in Georgia and one in Louisville,
4 On July 6, 2014, they left Louisville with the intention of
driving home to Crete, Illinois. However, while in Indiana,
William lost control of the vehicle, which caused it to
strike a concrete wall. Patricia was injured in the accident.
5 On June 20, 2016, Patricia filed a three-count complaint,
alleging that William's negligence caused the crash. The
only count at issue in this appeal is count I, which alleged
that Patricia sustained injuries and incurred damages as a
result of the accident.
6 William filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that
Indiana's statute on the transportation of guests
operated to bar Patricia's cause of action. In relevant
part, that statute contains an interspousal immunity
provision: "[t]he owner, operator, or person responsible
for the operation of a motor vehicle is not liable for loss
or damage arising from injuries to or the death of *** the
person's spouse." Ind. Code Ann. § 34-30-11-1
(West 2014) (hereinafter Indiana Guest Statute).
7 On November 21, 2016, the circuit court held a hearing on
the motion to dismiss. After hearing arguments, the court
dismissed the complaint and gave Patricia 28 days to replead.
In so ruling, the court told Patricia's attorney,
"[y]ou read [Miller v. Hayes, 233 Ill.App.3d
847 (1992)] and you show me some facts like they have in
Miller that the conduct started here and we'll re-address
8 On December 12, 2016, Patricia filed an amended complaint.
The only changes to count I were the addition of six
sentences that stated the parties married in 1971, had been
residents of Illinois since December 15, 1971, left for
vacation to Orlando on June 24, 2014, left Orlando for Crete
on July 1, 2014, made overnight stops in Georgia and
Kentucky, and left Kentucky on July 6, 2014, with the
intention of arriving back home in Crete.
9 William filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint,
alleging, again, that Indiana's Guest Statute operated to
bar Patricia's cause of action.
10 The circuit court held a hearing on April 6, 2017, on
William's motion to dismiss. After hearing arguments, the
court found no reason to differ from its original ruling that
Indiana law applied.