Lack Of Cross Appeal Doesn’t Deprive Illinois Supreme Court Of Jurisdiction

Almon Heastie was intoxicated, and in need of medical attention. Paramedics brought him to a hospital emergency room. Because he was yelling and abusive, Almon was placed on a cart and in restraints. For lack of space at the hospital, Almon was wheeled into the cast room, where he was left alone.

A fire broke out in the cast room, and Almon suffered severe injuries. He sued the hospital, one of the security guards, and a number of emergency room staffers. A jury returned a verdict for defendants, so Almon appealed. The appellate court (1) ruled that it was proper to preclude Almon’s evidence that the hospital deviated from a standard of care by not searching him for contraband; but (2) reversed and remanded for a new trial, ruling that the trial court improperly dismissed Almon’s res ipsa loquitor cause of action. Defendants then appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, which agreed that plaintiff should have been allowed to put on a res ipsa case.

Almon also raised an argument in the Supreme Court. He disputed the appellate court’s ruling that affirmed preclusion of the standard of care evidence. However, Almon did not file a petition for leave to appeal that part of the appellate court’s ruling.

No matter. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that Almon’s appeal still was proper. “Although plaintiff did not file a separate petition for leave to appeal, none was required. Plaintiff is entitled to raise the additional issue under [Illinois Supreme Court] Rule 318(a), which provides that in all appeals ‘any appellee, respondent, or coparty may seek and obtain any relief warranted by the record on appeal without having filed a separate petition for leave to appeal or notice of cross-appeal or separate appeal.’ … This court has invoked Rule 318(a) in finding that allowance of one party’s petition for leave to appeal brings before this court the other party’s requests for cross-relief.”

Be careful here: Illinois Supreme Court Rule 318 applies only to appeals from the appellate court to the Supreme Court. It does not apply to appeals from the circuit court to the court of appeals.

The whole opinion, Heastie v. Roberts, No. 102428 (11/1/07), is available by clicking here.