Crim v. Dietrich

CourtSupreme Court of Illinois
Citation444 Ill.Dec. 630,164 N.E.3d 1205,2020 IL 124318
Docket NumberDocket No. 124318
Parties Collin CRIM, a Minor, BY His Parents and Next Friends, Kristopher CRIM and Teri Crim, Appellees, v. Gina DIETRICH, Appellant.
Decision Date02 April 2020

2020 IL 124318
164 N.E.3d 1205
444 Ill.Dec.

Collin CRIM, a Minor, BY His Parents and Next Friends, Kristopher CRIM and Teri Crim, Appellees,
Gina DIETRICH, Appellant.

Docket No. 124318

Supreme Court of Illinois.

Opinion filed April 2, 2020.

JUSTICE KARMEIER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

444 Ill.Dec. 631

¶ 1 In this appeal, the circuit court of Adams County certified the following question for interlocutory appeal pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 308 ( Ill. S. Ct. R. 308 (eff. July 1, 2017)): "Whether the ruling of the appellate court, 2016 IL App (4th) 150843, 409 Ill.Dec. 221, 67 N.E.3d 433, reversing the judgment and remanding this case for a new trial requires a trial de novo on all claims." The appellate court answered this question in the affirmative. 2018 IL App (4th) 170864-U, 2018 WL 5084728. We granted defendant's petition for leave to appeal. Ill. S. Ct. R. 315 (eff. July 1, 2018). We also granted motions by the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel to file an amicus curiae brief in support of defendant and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) to file an amicus curiae brief in support of plaintiffs. Ill. S. Ct. R. 345 (eff. Sept. 20, 2010). For the reasons that follow, we reverse the judgments of the appellate court and circuit court and remand the matter to the circuit court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


¶ 3 Because our resolution of this appeal concerns a narrow certified question, we summarize here only those facts pertinent

164 N.E.3d 1207
444 Ill.Dec. 632

to our disposition. The underlying litigation is more fully set forth in the appellate court's initial opinion, Crim v. Dietrich , 2016 IL App (4th) 150843, 409 Ill.Dec. 221, 67 N.E.3d 433 ( Crim I ).

¶ 4 In August 2015, plaintiffs, Kristopher Crim and Teri Crim, acting on behalf of their biological son, Collin Crim (born June 17, 2005), filed a fourth amended medical malpractice claim against defendant, Gina Dietrich, D.O., alleging two claims: (1) Defendant failed to obtain Teri's informed consent to perform a natural birth despite possible risks associated with Collin's large size, and (2) defendant negligently delivered Collin, causing him injuries. The allegations supporting the informed consent claim are found in subparagraphs (a) thru (j) of plaintiffs' fourth amended complaint, while subparagraphs (k) and (l ) concern the allegations related to professional negligence during the delivery of the child.

¶ 5 As to the informed consent claim, plaintiffs alleged, among other things, that prior to birth, defendant failed to diagnose Collin with fetal macrosomia because she failed to recognize the significance of Teri's fundal heights, failed to assess the fetal weight, and failed to order an ultrasound prior to inducing labor. As a result, plaintiffs claim that defendant failed to inform Teri of the risks and benefits of vaginal birth as opposed to Caesarean section, failed to inform her of the high risk of shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injury in the event of a vaginal birth, and failed to offer Teri the option of delivering Collin by Caesarean section, given Collin's large size.

¶ 6 The negligence claim, under subparagraphs (k)-(l ), alleged negligent professional conduct during the birth of Collin. During Collin's June 17, 2005, natural delivery, Collin suffered shoulder dystocia, which is an obstructed labor whereby, after the delivery of the head, one or both shoulders of an infant cannot pass or requires significant manipulation. As a result, Collin suffered a broken clavicle and extensive nerve damage in his right shoulder, arm, and hand.

¶ 7 In September 2015, the matter proceeded to a jury trial. Following the presentation of the plaintiffs' case, defendant moved for a partial directed verdict on the issue of informed consent, arguing that the appellate court's decision in St. Gemme v. Tomlin , 118 Ill. App. 3d 766, 74 Ill.Dec. 264, 455 N.E.2d 294 (4th Dist.1983), requires plaintiffs to present expert testimony that a reasonable patient would have pursued a different form of treatment. Defendant argued that plaintiffs failed to proffer an expert to satisfy St. Gemme 's holding. The circuit court agreed, granting defendant's motion for a directed verdict on the issue of informed consent. Thereafter, following additional evidence and argument, the jury returned a verdict in defendant's favor and against plaintiffs on their remaining claim of professional negligence.

¶ 8 After the circuit court entered the judgment on the jury's verdict, the plaintiffs did not file any post-trial motions. Instead, on October 15, 2015, plaintiffs filed a timely notice of appeal.

¶ 9 Relevant to the appeal before this court, plaintiffs argued in Crim I that the circuit court erred by granting a directed verdict on the issue of informed consent. In the introductory paragraph of their opening brief, plaintiffs framed their appeal as a review only on whether the circuit court erred in issuing a directed verdict on the informed consent claim, expressly stating: "While this case was tried to verdict, this appeal is not based

164 N.E.3d 1208
444 Ill.Dec. 633

upon the verdict of a jury. This appeal reviews the trial court's order granting a partial directed verdict in favor of the Defendant on the Plaintiffs' theory of negligence based upon the doctrine of informed consent."

¶ 10 Plaintiffs asserted that expert testimony was not required to show what a reasonable patient would have done. Instead, plaintiffs contended that they sufficiently presented a claim on informed consent by offering Teri's testimony that she would have had a Caesarean section, had she known about Collin's size and the risks associated with the natural birth of a macrosomic baby. Consistent with their introductory paragraph, plaintiffs presented no argument in either their opening brief or reply brief addressing the jury's verdict regarding professional negligence. Rather, plaintiffs asked the appellate court to "reverse each and every decision and order entered in the trial court which were further steps in the procedural progression of enforcing or otherwise remaining consistent with the Court's Order granting the Defendant's Motion for Directed Verdict."

¶ 11 On November 7, 2016, the appellate court issued its opinion in Crim I , reversing the circuit's court's judgment and remanding the case to the circuit court. 2016 IL App (4th) 150843, ¶ 51, 409 Ill.Dec. 221, 67 N.E.3d 433. The appellate court limited its decision to an analysis of the partial directed verdict on the issue of informed consent, stating it need not address the subsequent proceedings following the directed verdict "because it is not pertinent to the resolution of this case." Id. ¶ 29. The appellate court's mandate stated, "the order on appeal from the circuit court be REVERSED and the cause be remanded to the Circuit Court for the Eighth Judicial Circuit Adams County, for such other proceedings as required by order of this court."

¶ 12 Upon remand, the parties disagreed on what issues and facts could be retried. Defendant filed a motion in limine to exclude the presentation of any evidence relating to plaintiffs' negligent delivery claim, thereby requesting the new trial be conducted solely on the issue of informed consent. Defendant argued that the appellate court's opinion addressed only the informed consent claim and, therefore, the only issue and facts that should be retried are those related to plaintiffs' informed consent claim. Defendant further noted that plaintiffs forfeited their right to have a new trial on their professional negligence claim because they failed to file a post-trial motion as required by section 2-1202 of the Code of Civil Procedure. 735 ILCS 5/2-1202 (West 2016).1 Therefore, according to defendant, the circuit court was barred from relitigating the jury's verdict.

¶ 13 In response, plaintiffs claimed that a new trial on all issues was necessary because the appellate court issued a general mandate and the appellate court reversed the circuit court's judgment in its entirety and did not limit the issues the new trial could address. In regard to defendant's

164 N.E.3d 1209
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claim of forfeiture, plaintiffs asserted they preserved all issues for review by including in their notice of appeal and appellate brief a general request for a new trial. Plaintiffs additionally argued for the first time that they were not required to file a post-trial motion challenging a directed verdict, given the directed verdict changed the "tenor" of the remaining trial, thus making a new trial on all issues appropriate.

¶ 14 Following a hearing on defendant's motion in limine , the circuit court denied the motion but invited the parties to propose a certified question pursuant to Rule 308. The circuit court certified the following question for immediate appeal: "Whether the ruling of the Appellate Court, 2016 IL App (4th) 150843, 409 Ill.Dec. 221, 67 N.E.3d 433, reversing the judgment and remanding this case for a...

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3 cases
  • People v. Brown, Docket No. 124100
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • 2 Abril 2020
    ...motion to dismiss, all the facts necessary to resolution of defendant's "as-applied" challenge are before us, and remand would serve no 164 N.E.3d 1205444 Ill.Dec. 630 valid purpose. Accordingly, this case should not be sent back to the circuit court with directions. Rather, we should retai......
  • In re Main, 2-20-0131
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 2 Noviembre 2020
    ...question although it improperly rested on the facts of the case, citing judicial economy); see also Crim v. Dietrich , 2020 IL 124318, 444 Ill.Dec. 630, 164 N.E.3d 1205 (problematic certified question answered where it did not have any of the flaws identified in Rozsavolgyi ; question did n......
  • Sproull v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., Docket No. 126446
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • 23 Septiembre 2021 broad and not limited to determining how the circuit court's question should be decided. Crim v. Dietrich , 2020 IL 124318, ¶ 18, 444 Ill.Dec. 630, 164 N.E.3d 1205 ; Schrock v. Shoemaker , 159 Ill. 2d 533, 537, 203 Ill.Dec. 787, 640 N.E.2d 937 (1994). The rules applicable to contract int......

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