Manago v. Cnty. of Cook, 1–12–1365.

CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Citation405 Ill.Dec. 16,57 N.E.3d 701
Docket NumberNo. 1–12–1365.,1–12–1365.
Parties Akeem MANAGO, a Deceased Minor By and Through April PRITCHETT, Mother and Next Friend, Plaintiff and Petitioner–Appellee, v. The COUNTY OF COOK, Respondent–Appellant (April Pritchett, Individually and as Special Administrator for the Estate of Akeem Manago, Plaintiff; Chicago Housing Authority, a Municipal Corporation, and H.J. Russell and Company, Defendants).
Decision Date30 June 2016

57 N.E.3d 701
405 Ill.Dec.

Akeem MANAGO, a Deceased Minor By and Through April PRITCHETT, Mother and Next Friend, Plaintiff and Petitioner–Appellee
The COUNTY OF COOK, Respondent–Appellant (April Pritchett, Individually and as Special Administrator for the Estate of Akeem Manago, Plaintiff; Chicago Housing Authority, a Municipal Corporation, and H.J. Russell and Company, Defendants).

No. 1–12–1365.

Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division.

June 30, 2016.

57 N.E.3d 703

Anita M. Alvarez, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Patrick T. Driscoll, Jr., Kent S. Ray, and James Beligratis, Assistant State's Attorneys, of counsel), for appellant.

No brief filed for appellee.


Presiding Justice REYES delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

405 Ill.Dec. 18

¶ 1 Respondent the County of Cook (County) appeals an order entered by the circuit court of Cook County striking, dismissing, and extinguishing a hospital lien arising under the Health Care Services Lien Act (Act) (770 ILCS 23/1 et seq. (West 2004)) for services rendered to plaintiff Akeem Manago by the John H. Stroger, Jr., Hospital of Cook County

405 Ill.Dec. 19
57 N.E.3d 704

(Hospital).1 On appeal, the County contends the circuit court erred in extinguishing the lien, arguing: (1) it was not required to intervene in plaintiff's personal injury action against defendants Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and H.J. Russell and Company (Russell); (2) a hospital lien may be enforced against a minor; and (3) the hospital lien may attach to a judgment that does not include an award of damages for medical expenses. For the reasons set forth in this opinion, because Manago's parent, April Pritchett (Pritchett), did not assign her cause of action for medical expenses to the injured minor plaintiff, the County does not have a lien under the Act. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.


¶ 3 This case arises out of injuries plaintiff sustained on August 5, 2005, while he was a minor.2 The Hospital provided care and treatment to plaintiff for these injuries on various dates between August 6, 2005, through September 28, 2010. The Hospital filed a notice of lien against plaintiff for unpaid hospital bills on August 10, 2009. Notice of the lien was forwarded to the plaintiff at his counsel's office by certified mail. The enforceability of the lien against a judgment entered by the circuit court in plaintiff's underlying personal injury lawsuit is the subject of this appeal.

¶ 4 The record discloses that on November 26, 2008, plaintiff filed a three-count negligence complaint against the CHA, Russell, and A.N.B. Elevator Services, Inc. (A.N.B.), through his mother and next friend, Pritchett, seeking damages for personal injuries plaintiff sustained in an elevator operated and controlled by Russell and A.N.B. on the CHA premises at 1520 West Hastings in Chicago on August 5, 2005. Plaintiff alleged he was injured while an invitee on CHA premises. Plaintiff claimed the defendants carelessly and negligently failed to inspect and maintain the elevator, which was a direct and proximate cause of plaintiff's injuries. Plaintiff specifically alleged he “has become liable for sums of money for medical care and hospital care and attention in endeavoring to be cured of the injuries caused by said occurrence.”

¶ 5 On March 9, 2011, plaintiff filed his second amended complaint,3 a two-count

405 Ill.Dec. 20
57 N.E.3d 705

negligence complaint against the CHA and Russell. The second amended complaint realleged defendants' general failure to inspect and maintain the elevator, and additionally alleged defendants failed to inspect the elevator to ensure persons, including the plaintiff, would not have access to the elevator roof. Plaintiff also asserted the CHA permitted an “ attractive nuisance” to exist, placing minors at risk for harming themselves. Plaintiff further alleged defendants carelessly and negligently permitted him access to the elevator roof and that plaintiff was injured while the elevator was in motion. Plaintiff additionally alleged his mother, “April Pritchett[,] has expended and incurred obligations for medical expenses and care and will in the future expend and incur such further obligations.”

¶ 6 The record sets forth a notice of lien dated August 10, 2009, mailed from the County to plaintiff's attorney by certified mail, stating the County was asserting a lien upon plaintiff's cause of action under the Act for medical and hospital services rendered to plaintiff after the August 5, 2005 incident. The return receipt for the notice of lien, addressed to the law office of plaintiff's attorney, was signed by “D. Pinto.”

¶ 7 On December 7, 2011, following a bench trial on plaintiff's personal injury action, commenced without a court reporter, the circuit court issued an order with A.N.B. no longer listed as a party in the caption, which lists Akeem Manago “et al. ” as the plaintiff. The December 7, 2011, order indicates that following the presentation of the evidence, “[p]laintiffs” requested damages in the following amounts:

“April Pritchett—$79,572.63 for the medical bills stipulated to by the parties; Akeem Manago—$704,000 broken down in this fashion—scarring; 350,000; past pain and suffering—$300,000; and future loss of a normal life—$54,000.”4

Defendants requested they be found not liable or, in the alternative, plaintiff be found 50% responsible for his own injuries.

¶ 8 The court rendered the following findings: (1) that the CHA knew or should have known through its agents at Russell that minor residents could access the elevator roof while the elevator was in motion; (2) notwithstanding this actual or constructive notice, neither the CHA nor Russell inspected the elevator access doors to determine whether the doors were open and thereby permitted lawfully riding passengers to gain access to the elevator roof; (3) plaintiff, while lawfully riding the elevator and after having been directed by

405 Ill.Dec. 21
57 N.E.3d 706

Pritchett not to ride on the roof, climbed onto the roof on August 5, 2005, through one of the access panels; (4) plaintiff suffered severe and permanent injuries as a result of becoming entangled in the elevator's operating mechanism; and (5) plaintiff had established a prima facie case against defendants, but “Plaintiff April Pritchett” failed to do so, because the parties stipulated to the medical bills but “no evidence was adduced to establish that April Pritchett had any expectation that she had to pay any of the $79,572.53 back to Stroger Hospital.”

¶ 9 The court awarded plaintiff: $250,000 for past, present and future scarring he will be forced to endure for the next 54.1 years; $75,000 for past, present and future pain and suffering and $75,000 for past, present and future loss of a normal life. The court further indicated plaintiff was 50% responsible for his injuries and reduced the judgment from $500,000 to $250,000. No monies were awarded to plaintiff for present or future medical expenses.

¶ 10 Pritchett filed a motion to reconsider, based on the circuit court's failure to award damages for the medical expenses. On December 8, 2011, defendants filed a motion to clarify the order on the grounds the awarded expenses in the order totaled $400,000, not the $500,000 aggregate mentioned in the order. On December 9, 2011, the circuit court issued an order clarifying the judgment was $400,000, reduced to $200,000, and the court would retain jurisdiction for the adjudication of any liens.

¶ 11 On January 25, 2012, the minor plaintiff filed a petition to strike and extinguish the County's lien. The petition asserts Pritchett filed a count in the complaint seeking damages for medical expenses.5 Plaintiff's petition to strike and extinguish the lien argues: (1) a medical care provider has no claim for reimbursement of medical expenses against funds received by a minor from a tortfeasor pursuant to a judgment or settlement which does not include medical expenses; and (2) any claim for medical expenses incurred in treating a minor for injuries sustained due to a tortfeasor's negligence belongs to the parents, rather than the child. On March 2, 2012, the County filed its response to plaintiff's petition, arguing the Act does not allow a lien to be disallowed or reduced for medical services rendered to a minor, regardless of whether the minor's parents have a claim to recover medical expenses from a tortfeasor.

¶ 12 On April 25, 2012, the circuit court held a hearing on plaintiff's petition. Counsel for CHA and Russell, in addition to counsel for the County and plaintiff, presented arguments before the court. At the hearing, the trial judge inquired whether the County had a duty to intervene in the personal injury litigation to protect its lien. The trial judge also stated that one count of the complaint involved a claim by Pritchett under the Rights of Married...

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4 cases
  • In re Rivera
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • September 30, 2016
    ...of review is de novo, those arguments, while instructive, are superfluous. Manago v. County of Cook, 2016 IL App (1st) 121365, ¶ 16, 405 Ill.Dec. 16, 57 N.E.3d 701 ("De novo review is completely independent of the trial court's decision. [Citation.]"); Battaglia v. 736 N. Clark Corp., 2015 ......
  • Johnston v. Ill. Workers' Comp. Comm'n
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • April 13, 2017
    ...334, 339, 235 Ill.Dec. 736, 705 N.E.2d 919 (1998) ; Manago ex rel. Pritchett v. County of Cook , 2016 IL App (1st) 121365, ¶ 22, 405 Ill.Dec. 16, 57 N.E.3d 701. We must therefore assume that the legislature was aware of and approved the existing common-law standards for overcoming rebuttabl......
  • Manago v. Cnty. of Cook
    • United States
    • Illinois Supreme Court
    • September 21, 2017
    ...schedule, and heard oral argument. Later, the court withdrew its prior opinion and reversed course in Manago II (2016 IL App 1st 121365, 405 Ill.Dec. 16, 57 N.E.3d 701 ), affirming the trial court's decision to strike, dismiss, and extinguish the hospital's statutory lien. The majority conc......
  • Ortega v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois
    • October 21, 2016

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