In Lannom v. Kosco, 634 N.E.2d 1097 (Ill. 1994), the Illinois Supreme Court announced that a non-settling party's right to have the fault of other defendants and third party defendants considered in the apportionment of fault for several liability determinations was not "abolished" when the other defendants settled with the plaintiff. Nonetheless, some courts have misread or misapplied the ruling in Lannom.
The Illinois Supreme Court, which had also upheld the constitutionality of Section 2-1117 in Unziker v. Kraft Food Ingredients Corp., 783 N.E.2d 1024 (Ill. 2002), was set to again clarify the issue in Skaggs v. Senior Services. This was an appeal from a decision by the Illinois Appellate Court's Fourth District (which covers Central Illinois) that it had upheld including settling parties on the verdict form. 823 N.E.2d 1021 (Ill.App.Ct., 4th Dist., 2005). The matter had been set for oral argument in the Illinois Supreme Court on March 21, 2006, but on March 3, 2006, the Illinois Supreme Court dismissed the appeal pursuant to settlement. Accordingly, the issue of the proper interpretation of Section 2-1117 and the Lannom opinion is one that will continue to be debated in the lower courts.
Hinshaw partner David H. Levitt wrote an amicus brief in the Skaggs matter before the Illinois Supreme Court on behalf of the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel. To download the brief, click below on Download PDF.
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