The January 3, 2022 penned decision by the Illinois Third District Appellate Court in Ottawa ruled in favor of Appellant Linda Gavlin, an estate administrator of Jennifer Andrules, against Lakewood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center’s use of two-year statute of limitations to escape a medical negligence claim.
On May 16, 2014, Andrules fell and broke her leg at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital for a medical evaluation. She underwent surgery and was admitted to Lakewood six days later. On June 3, she fell again, breaking the same leg where surgery was necessary. Jennifer Andrules was then designated as disabled.
A medical negligence suit was filed on May 2, 2016 by Northern Trust, former administrator of Andrules before Gavlin, against Lakewood. In February 2019, the new administrator, Gavlin, represented by Chicago medical malpractice lawyer Jerome Vinkler, lodged an amended suit that added Lakewood, accusing the nursing home of medical negligence.
Lakewood pleaded that the two-year statute of limitations expired, based on the original lawsuit filed in May 2014. Will County Judge Raymond Rossi rejected Lakewood's argument which urged Lakewood to ask the appeals panel to answer if the the filing of a suit by a disabled person's representative continues to pause the statute of limitations.
Justice Lytton disagreed, saying that tolling only ends when the disabled person dies or their disability is removed. According to the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, tolling is allowed in cases of disabled persons who have negligence claims.
Lytton also noted that almost every court agrees the statute of limitations remains tolled after a suit is filed on behalf of a disabled person. Many jurisdictions allow a representative, suing on behalf of a disabled person.
The article was originally posted by Dan Churney at Cook County Record, https://cookcountyrecord.com/stories/617893671-appeals-court-statute-of-limitations-still-paused-for-disabled-person-s-lawsuit-even-if-her-guardian-sued-another-party.