Klaine v. S. Ill. Hosp. Servs., 118217.

CourtSupreme Court of Illinois
Citation47 N.E.3d 966
Docket NumberNo. 118217.,118217.
PartiesCAROL KLAINE et al., Appellees, v. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS HOSPITAL SERVICES, d/b/a Memorial Hospital of Carbondale and St. Joseph Memorial Hospital, Appellant.
Decision Date22 January 2016

47 N.E.3d 966

CAROL KLAINE et al., Appellees
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS HOSPITAL SERVICES, d/b/a Memorial Hospital of Carbondale and St. Joseph Memorial Hospital, Appellant.

No. 118217.

Supreme Court of Illinois.

Jan. 22, 2016.

47 N.E.3d 967

Kara L. Jones, of Feirich/Mager/Green/Ryan, of Carbondale, for appellant.

Thomas Q. Keefe III, of Keefe & Keefe, P.C., of Belleville, for appellees.

Richard R. King, Robert John Kane and Sherri DeVito, of Illinois State Medical Society, of Chicago, and Mark D. Deaton, of Illinois Hospital Association, of Naperville, for amici curiae Illinois State Medical Society et al.

Patrick E. Dwyer III and Patrick E. Dwyer II, of Chicago, for amicus curiae Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.


Justice BURKE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

¶ 1 Defendant Southern Illinois Hospital Services, d/b/a St. Joseph Memorial and Memorial Hospital of Carbondale (SIHS), appeals the judgment of the appellate

47 N.E.3d 968

court, which affirmed the Williamson County circuit court's finding that certain documents sought in discovery by plaintiffs Carol and Keith Klaine were not privileged and must be produced. 2014 IL App (5th) 130356, 383 Ill.Dec. 747, 15 N.E.3d 525. For reasons that follow, we affirm the appellate court's judgment and remand for further proceedings.


¶ 3 Carol and Keith Klaine filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against Frederick Dressen, D.O. (Dr. Dressen) and Southern Illinois Medical Services, d/b/a The Center for Medical Arts. In an amended complaint, plaintiffs added a claim against Southern Illinois Hospital Services, d/b/a St. Joseph Memorial Hospital and Memorial Hospital of Carbondale (SIHS), for the negligent credentialing of Dr. Dressen.

¶ 4 Plaintiffs served discovery requests on SIHS and, in response, SIHS provided over 1,700 pages of documents. SIHS refused, however, to provide certain documents, which it listed in a privilege log, as required by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 201(n) (eff. July 1, 2014), asserting that the withheld documents were privileged pursuant to, inter alia, the Medical Studies Act (735 ILCS 5/8–2101 (West 2012) ) and the Health Care Professional Credentials Data Collection Act (Credentials Act) (410 ILCS 517/1 et seq. (West 2012)).

¶ 5 Upon plaintiffs' motion, SIHS submitted the documents which it claimed to be privileged to the circuit court for in camera review. After reviewing the documents, the circuit court agreed with SIHS that all of the documents were privileged, with the exception of those documents contained in “Group Exhibit B,” “Group Exhibit F,” and “Group Exhibit J.” SIHS complied with the court's order compelling the production of documents in Group Exhibit B, but continued to maintain that the documents in Group Exhibit F and Group Exhibit J were privileged. Group Exhibit F consists of Dr. Dressen's three applications to SIHS for staff privileges dated December 1, 2011 (47 pages), February 19, 2009 (37 pages), and August 13, 2010 (33 pages). Group Exhibit J contains “procedure summaries and case histories” that, essentially, list the various surgical procedures that Dr. Dressen performed at SIHS hospitals.

¶ 6 To facilitate SIHS's appeal of its ruling, the circuit court held SIHS in “friendly” contempt and imposed a $1 monetary sanction. Thereafter, SIHS filed an interlocutory appeal in the appellate court pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 304(b)(5) (eff. Feb. 26, 2010).

¶ 7 In a judgment entered August 6, 2014, the appellate court affirmed the lower court's ruling, with two modifications: (1) all references to the “Greeley Report,” an external peer review report contained in Dr. Dressen's December 1, 2011, application for staff privileges, were to be redacted, and (2) any patient identifying information contained in the applications within Group Exhibit F or in the Surgeon Case Histories contained in Group Exhibit J, were to be redacted to the extent required by section 164.512(e) of the Code of Federal Regulations (45 C.F.R. § 164.512(e) (2012) ). 2014 IL App (5th) 130356, ¶ 43, 383 Ill.Dec. 747, 15 N.E.3d 525. The appellate court then remanded the matter to the circuit court for further proceedings. Id.

¶ 8 SIHS filed a petition for leave to appeal in this court, which we allowed. Ill. S.Ct. R. 315 (eff. Jan. 1, 2015). We permitted the Illinois State Medical Society, the Illinois Hospital Association, the Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants, the Illinois Podiatric Medical Association, and the Illinois Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons to file a joint amicus curiae brief in

47 N.E.3d 969

support of SIHS. Also, we permitted the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association to file an amicus curiae brief in support of plaintiffs.


¶ 10 In its appeal before this court, SIHS has limited its challenge to the discovery order with regard to Group Exhibit F. SIHS now contends that Group Exhibit F, which consists of Dr. Dressen's three applications for staff privileges, is nondiscoverable in its entirety pursuant to section 15(h) of the Credentials Act, which provides that all “credentials data collected or obtained by the * * * hospital shall be confidential.” 410 ILCS 517/15(h) (West 2012). SIHS also contends that the appellate court's judgment in this case conflicts with the judgment in TTX Co. v. Whitley, 295 Ill.App.3d 548, 556, 229 Ill.Dec. 801, 692 N.E.2d 790 (1998), wherein the court interpreted a confidentiality provision similar to the one here and held that confidential materials were privileged and could not be disclosed.

¶ 11 As an alternative argument, SIHS maintains that, if this court should find that Group Exhibit F is not privileged in its entirety, we should find that certain materials or information within Group Exhibit F must be redacted. Specifically, SIHS maintains: (1) any references in the applications to information reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) must be redacted because it is privileged under section 11137 of the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 (42 U.S.C. § 11137(a) (2012) ), and (2) information concerning medical treatment provided by Dr. Dressen to patients who are not party to this lawsuit must be redacted because it is privileged under the Credentials Act and/or the physician-patient privilege.

¶ 12 Standard of Review

¶ 13 Initially, we must determine the appropriate standard of review. As we explained in Norskog v. Pfiel, 197 Ill.2d 60, 70–71, 257 Ill.Dec. 899, 755 N.E.2d 1 (2001), although a trial court's order compelling discovery is ordinarily reviewed for a manifest abuse of discretion, the proper standard of review will depend on the question that was answered in the trial court. See also D.C. v. S.A., 178 Ill.2d 551, 559, 227 Ill.Dec. 550, 687 N.E.2d 1032 (1997). If the facts are uncontroverted and the issue is the lower court's application of the law to the facts, a court of review may determine the correctness of the ruling independently of the lower court's judgments. Norskog, 197 Ill.2d at 70–71, 257 Ill.Dec. 899, 755 N.E.2d 1 ; Doe v. Township High School District 211, 2015 IL App (1st) 140857, ¶ 74, 393 Ill.Dec. 451, 34 N.E.3d 652. Where, as here, the defendant challenges an order compelling discovery of information that the defendant believes to be subject to a statutory discovery privilege, the question is one of statutory construction, which is purely a question of law. Norskog, 197 Ill.2d at 71, 257 Ill.Dec. 899, 755 N.E.2d 1 ; Doe, 2015 IL App (1st) 140857, ¶ 74, 393 Ill.Dec. 451, 34 N.E.3d 652. Accordingly, in the case at bar, we review de novo the lower court's determination that no statutory discovery privilege exists that would prevent the disclosure of the three applications for staff privileges which Dr. Dressen submitted to SIHS or any specific documents or materials contained within.

¶ 14 When construing the statutory provisions relied on here, we are guided by familiar principles. Our primary objective must be to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the legislature. See General Motors Corp. v. State of Illinois Motor Vehicle Review Board, 224 Ill.2d 1, 13, 308 Ill.Dec. 611, 862 N.E.2d 209 (2007).

47 N.E.3d 970

The most reliable indicator of legislative intent is the language of the statute, given its plain, ordinary, and popularly understood meaning. Blum v. Koster, 235 Ill.2d 21, 29, 335 Ill.Dec. 614, 919 N.E.2d 333 (2009). If the language is clear and unambiguous, the statute must be given effect as written, without resort to further aids of statutory construction. Krautsack v. Anderson, 223 Ill.2d 541, 553, 308 Ill.Dec. 302, 861 N.E.2d 633 (2006). It must also be presumed that the legislature did not intend absurdity, inconvenience or injustice. Burger v. Lutheran General Hospital, 198 Ill.2d 21, 40, 259 Ill.Dec. 753, 759 N.E.2d 533 (2001).

¶ 15 It should be noted, as well, that privileges are designed to protect interests outside the truth-seeking process and, as a result, should be strictly construed as exceptions to the general duty to disclose. Martinez v. Pfizer Laboratories Division, 216 Ill.App.3d 360, 159 Ill.Dec. 642, 576 N.E.2d 311 (1991). “ ‘[O]ne who claims to be exempt...

To continue reading

Request your trial
14 cases
  • Thomas v. Weatherguard Constr. Co., 1-17-1238
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 27 Diciembre 2018
    ...reviewed only for an abuse of discretion ( Klaine v. Southern Illinois Hospital Services , 2016 IL 118217, ¶ 13, 400 Ill.Dec. 1, 47 N.E.3d 966 ), and defendant does not argue for a different standard of review. An abuse of discretion occurs only when the trial court's ruling is arbitrary, f......
  • Crim v. Dietrich, Docket No. 124318
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • 2 Abril 2020
    ...the jurisdiction of a reviewing court. See, e.g. , Klaine v. Southern Illinois Hospital Services , 2016 IL 118217, ¶ 41, 400 Ill.Dec. 1, 47 N.E.3d 966 (noting that forfeiture is a limitation on the parties and not on the court and explaining that we may "overlook any forfeiture in the inter......
  • Crowley v. Watson, 1–14–2847.
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • 2 Marzo 2016
    ...order to maintain a uniform body of precedent. See Klaine v. Southern Illinois Hospital Services, 2016 IL 118217, ¶ 41, 400 Ill.Dec. 1, 47 N.E.3d 966. This principle cannot salvage defendants' claim given the record before us. As discussed immediately below, defendants did not simply forfei......
  • People v. Price, Docket No. 118613
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • 30 Diciembre 2016
    ...maintaining a sound and uniform body of precedent." Klaine v. Southern Illinois Hospital Services , 2016 IL 118217, ¶ 41, 400 Ill.Dec. 1, 47 N.E.3d 966. For this further reason, we reject defendant's forfeiture argument and consider the retroactivity issue that we directed the parties to br......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT