On May 18, 2023, the Illinois Supreme Court issued its decision in favor of our client in Cleeton v. SIU Healthcare, Inc. Argued by Tim Shay and briefed by Katherine Perry, the case involved the interpretation of the Illinois respondent in discovery statute, which allows plaintiffs to include non-defendants as parties to a lawsuit for the purpose of investigating whether they should be named as a defendant.
Respondents in discovery may be converted to defendants where the evidence discloses probable cause for an action against them. The statute further extends the time for filing beyond the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit.
The statute was initially intended to decrease the number of defendants in medical malpractice suits, thereby stemming costs of litigation and malpractice insurance. The Supreme Court’s decision, the first since the statutes’ inception, held the evidentiary burden to convert a respondent in discovery to a defendant is no higher than the burden to name the party as a defendant at the outset of suit.
This has been a hard-won battle, but well worth it for both our client and plaintiffs across the State of Illinois. Thank you to the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association for their support and amicus in this matter.