from the Circuit Court of Kendall County. No. 17-L-38
Honorable Robert P. Pilmer, Judge, Presiding.
JUSTICE McLAREN delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Jorgenson and Burke concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 Plaintiff, Richard Doe, appeals the dismissal of his
four-count complaint alleging battery, false imprisonment,
negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional
infliction of emotional distress arising from a sexual
assault committed by defendant, John Dennis Hastert, when
plaintiff was a child. The trial court dismissed
plaintiff's complaint, agreeing with defendant's
assertion that plaintiff's cause of action was barred by
the statute of limitations. Plaintiff argues that the trial
court erred because the limitations period was delayed or
tolled by (1) the discovery rule, (2) fraudulent concealment,
(3) equitable estoppel, (4) equitable tolling, and (5) public
policy. For the following reasons, we affirm.
2 I. BACKGROUND
3 On May 26, 2017, plaintiff filed a complaint against
defendant. Plaintiff's complaint contained four counts.
Defendant filed a motion to dismiss (735 ILCS 5/2-619(a)(5)
(West 2016)). The trial court dismissed the action,
determining that plaintiff's claims were barred by the
statute of limitations for personal-injury claims
(id. § 13-202). Plaintiff filed a motion to
reconsider, which the trial court denied.
4 A. Plaintiff's Complaint
5 The following facts are alleged in plaintiff's
complaint and we accept them as true for purposes of our
review of the ruling on defendant's motion to dismiss See
Parks v. Kownacki, 193 Ill.2d 164, 167-68 (2000).
During the spring or summer of 1973 or 1974, when plaintiff
was 9 or 10 years old,  plaintiff was riding his bike along
Game Farm Road. Plaintiff stopped at the Game Farm Building
to use the bathroom. While plaintiff was in a bathroom stall,
sitting on the toilet, he heard a male voice mutter something
outside the stall door. Suddenly, the stall door opened and
defendant entered the stall. Defendant's genitals were
exposed. Defendant grabbed plaintiff by the neck, bent
plaintiff over the toilet, and forcefully sodomized
plaintiff. After the sexual assault, defendant left the
bathroom. Plaintiff saw defendant's face at that time but
did not recognize him.
6 Several weeks later, while plaintiff was in gym class at
Yorkville Grade School, he saw a large man enter and walk
toward the gym teacher. Plaintiff recognized the man as
defendant. The sight of defendant caused plaintiff to shake
and cry. Defendant spoke with the gym teacher and then
defendant approached plaintiff. Defendant took plaintiff by
the neck and led him into the hallway. In the hallway
defendant dropped to his knees and asked plaintiff if he had
told anyone about the assault. Plaintiff, still crying, said
no. Defendant warned plaintiff against reporting the assault
and threatened him, saying that defendant's father was
the sheriff and that if plaintiff told anyone about the
assault plaintiff's parents would be put in jail.
7 The events caused plaintiff severe mental and emotional
distress, interfering with his daily life and preventing him
from fully processing the sexual assault and the short- and
long-term injuries caused by the assault. It was not until
1984 or 1985, when plaintiff was 20 or 21 years old, that he
began to comprehend the scope of defendant's malevolent
acts against him. At that time, plaintiff went to the Kendall
County State's Attorney's Office, where he intended
to report the crime. Plaintiff spoke with Kendall County
State's Attorney Dallas C. Ingemunson. Unbeknownst to
plaintiff, Ingemunson was an associate of defendant's.
Ingemunson had been defendant's personal attorney, he and
defendant were business partners in various ventures, and he
played a prominent role in defendant's political career.
8 When plaintiff told Ingemunson what defendant had done to
him, Ingemunson threatened to charge plaintiff with a crime
and accused plaintiff of slandering defendant's name.
"Upon information and belief [Ingemunson's] threats
were intended to prevent plaintiff from discovering the full
extent of the crimes committed against him" and were
made for defendant's benefit. Ingemunson's threats
caused plaintiff further mental and emotional distress. As a
result, plaintiff was traumatized, repressed the sexual
assault, and was intimidated into silence.
9 A short time thereafter, defendant was elected to the
United States House of Representatives and, subsequently,
became Speaker of the House. Defendant's prominence
caused plaintiff to further withdraw and attempt to suppress
his memories of the sexual assault. Defendant's position,
coupled with the multiple threats against plaintiff and his
family, intimidated plaintiff and precluded him from speaking
with anyone regarding whether he might have a civil claim
10 In May 2015, defendant was indicted and federal law
enforcement officials stated that defendant was believed to
have paid $1.7 million to conceal his sexual abuse of a
former student. Shortly thereafter, news stories circulated
regarding accusations of defendant's abuse of underage
male students. When plaintiff learned of these stories, he
began to fully understand what had happened to him, including
that he might have a claim against defendant for his
11 Based on these facts, plaintiff alleged four counts of
liability against defendant: battery, false imprisonment,
negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional
infliction of emotional distress.
12 B. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
13 On September 12, 2017, defendant filed a motion to dismiss
under section 2-619(a)(5) of the Code of Civil Procedure (the
Code) (id. § 2-619(a)(5)), alleging that
plaintiff's claims were barred by the 2-year statute of
limitations for personal-injury actions and by the 12-year
statute of repose. The alleged abuse occurred in 1973 or
1974. Plaintiff turned 18 in 1982; however, he did not file a
complaint until 2017, more than 30 years later. Defendant
alleged that the complaint makes clear that plaintiff was
aware of his claims in 1984 or 1985, after he had turned 18.
Defendant also alleged that the discovery rule did not save
plaintiff's claims, because he had actual knowledge of
them in 1984 or 1985. Similarly, because nothing was
concealed from plaintiff, his claims were not tolled under
the theory of fraudulent concealment. Plaintiff alleged that
he was aware of all the facts giving rise to his cause of
action after he had turned 18. Finally, the statute of repose
barred plaintiff's claims even if the statute of
limitations did not, because plaintiff reached the age of 30
decades before he filed his complaint.
14 On October 10, 2017, plaintiff filed his response to
defendant's motion to dismiss, alleging and arguing the
following. The limitations period was tolled by the actions
of defendant and those acting on his behalf, under the theory
of equitable estoppel. Plaintiff cited section 13-202.2(d-1)
of the Code (id. § 13-202.2(d-1)) (the
limitations period for childhood sexual abuse does "not
run during a time period when the person abused is subject to
threats, intimidation, manipulation, or fraud perpetrated by
the abuser or by any person acting in the interest of the
abuser")). Further, the statute of repose was repealed
before plaintiff's claims were barred. The statute of
repose for claims of childhood sexual abuse required claims
to be brought before the victim's thirtieth birthday.
Effective January 1, 1994, the statute of repose was
repealed. Because plaintiff was born in 1964, the repose
period had not run on his claims prior to the statute's
repeal and, therefore, his claims were not barred.
15 C. Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery
16 On November 16, 2017, plaintiff filed a motion to compel
discovery of defendant. Plaintiff alleged that defendant had
failed to provide any responses to the written discovery
requests that plaintiff issued on September 29, 2017. Rather,
on October 27, 2017, defendant had provided objections to all
of plaintiff's ...