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Untried Allegation Laid to Rest with Res Judicata

by Scott Britton | January 31, 2008

Recently, Illinois Supreme Court decided Hudson v. City of Chicago. In November of 1998, 5 year old Hudson died of acute asthma exacerbation when a fire engine without advanced life support equipment was dispatched by the 911 operator. An ambulance with the correct equipment arrived nearly 15 minutes later. The plaintiff made claims against the city for negligence and willful and wanton conduct. The city, relying on immunity under the Emergency Medical Services System Act, successfully raised a motion to dismiss the negligence count with prejudice, and the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the remaining charge.

Hudson re-filed the willful and wanton count. Relying on Rein v David A. Noyes & Co., 172 Ill. 2d 325 (1996), the Court found that res judicata barred not only of every matter that was actually determined in the first suit, but also every matter which might have been brought. Therefore, based upon the adjudication on the merits of the negligence count, the willful and wanton conduct count could not stand. The Court emphasized that Rein, and subsequently Hudson, stand for anti-claim splitting policy.