By: Donald C. Schiller
Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP
Chicago, Lake Forest and Wheaton, Illinois
Telephone: (312) 641-5560; Facsimile: (312) 641-6361:
Michelle A. Lawless
The Law Office of Michelle A. Lawless LLC
161 N. Clark St. Suite 1700 Chicago, Illinois
Telephone: (312) 741-1092
1. Factual finding upheld that wife was unable to work due to the time and effort needed to care for a severely disabled child. Husband appealed the trial court’s finding that his wife was unable to work because of the intense and constant care their only daughter needed due to her severe disabilities. The evidence showed that the daughter suffered from cerebral palsy, epilepsy, seizures, paralytic scoliosis, severe anxiety and depression, among other issues. The daughter experienced 3 to 10 seizures per day, could not be left alone, and could not sleep alone. The evidence also showed that while she was eligible for in-home nursing care, there was a shortage of qualified care providers, and both parties agreed that she received better care at home from the wife as opposed to a government-subsidized home. The trial court awarded wife $776.92 per month in maintenance for seven years. Although husband argued that their daughter was eligible for in-home nursing care which would allow wife to become employed, and as such wife’s unemployment was voluntary, the Appellate Court disagreed. The trial court’s finding was not against the manifest weight of the evidence and the trial court did not abuse its discretion when evaluating whether or not to impute income to wife when reviewing all of the statutory maintenance factors. In re the Marriage of Stine, 2023 IL App (4th) 220519.
In re Marriage of Stine
2. Absolute litigation privilege barred ex-wife’s claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Ex-wife filed a lawsuit against her ex-husband for intentional infliction of emotional distress and other violations of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act upon discovering that he had hired private investigators to conduct surveillance on her for more than 3 years. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of ex-husband on the grounds that the actions were protected by the absolute litigation privilege.It was undisputed that the surveillance was in the course of, and in furtherance of, anticipated divorce proceedings. The evidence did not have to be used at trial in order to be pertinent to the proceedings, but only needed to bear some relation to the litigation in order for the litigation privilege to apply. The Appellate Court held that the surveillance did bear some relation to the divorce proceedings and that the absolute litigation privilege barred ex-wife’s claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress against ex-husband. Goodman v. Goodman, 2023 IL App (2d) 220086.
Goodman v. Goodman
3. The Illinois Domestic Violence Act does not provide for a private right of action. Ex-wife brought a private actions against her ex-husband for three claims related to various forms of abuse under the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) along with a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (see Flash Point #2).The trial court dismissed the abuse claims finding that the DVA did not provide a private right of action. Ex-wife appealed and the Appellate Court upheld. The Illinois Supreme Court has promulgated a four-prong test to determine whether a private right of action exists under a statute (Channon v. Westward Management, Inc. 2022 IL 128040): (1) the plaintiff is a member of the class for hose the benefit the Act was enacted; (2) providing a private right of action is consistent with the underlying purpose of the Act; (3) the plaintiff’s injury is one the Act was designed to prevent; and (4) providing a private right of action is necessary to provide an adequate remedy for violations of the Act. While the first three prongs are applicable, the fourth factor does not support the implication of a private right of action.The DVA provides for issuing orders of protection and other remedies which are effective on their own and in their own right. Further, the DVA’s plain language indicates the legislature did not intend to imply a private right of action under Act. The trial court properly dismissed ex-wife’s claims.Goodman v. Goodman, 2023 IL App (2d) 220086.
Goodman v. Goodman
4. Illinois Supreme Court adopts parenting coordinator rule. SCR 909, enacted on May 24, 2023 provides that each judicial circuit may adopt rules for parenting coordination including specialized parenting coordination protocols, screening, procedures, and training. The Rule outlines the definition of parenting coordination, the basis for appointing a parenting coordinator, their duties, limitations, parameters on making recommendations, among other protocols. The full rule can be read here:SCR 909