Chiropractor Waives Unjust Enrichment Claim For Failure To File Cross-Appeal

Richard Martis, a chiropractor, treated Water Management Corp.’s employee for an on-the-job injury. Water Management’s worker compensation insurer was Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company. Martis was not in Grinnell’s preferred provider network. He submitted his bill to Grinnell for the treating the employee. Grinnell discounted the bill and paid Martis as if he had preferred provider agreement with Grinnell.

Apparently angered for being shorted, Martis sued Grinnell. He alleged actions for conspiracy, unjust enrichment, violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, and breach of contract, and asked the trial court to certify the case as a class action. The trial court dismissed everything except the contract action, and also certified class action status.

Grinnell appealed, aguing that the class should not have been certified because Martis’s breach of contract claim did not state a proper cause of action. The Third District Illinois Appellate Court ruled that Martis was not a third-party beneficiary of Water Management’s worker compensation insurance policy with Grinnell, so Martis could not sue for breach of that contract.

With nothing left of his lawsuit, Martis asked the appellate court to review the trial court’s dismissal of his unjust enrichment claim. But Martis had not filed a cross-appeal asking for review of the dismissal, so the appellate court refused to consider the subject. Here’s the appellate court’s analysis:

Appellees [Martis] may not argue alleged errors unless they timely file a cross-appeal … In the absence of a cross-appeal, an appellee will not be permitted to challenge or ask the reviewing court to modify a portion of the trial court’s order … When an appellee does not file a cross-appeal, the reviewing court is confined to the issues presented by the appellant … Because plaintiff did not file a cross-appeal, we may not address his argument that the trial court improperly dismissed his unjust enrichment claim.

Read the whole opinion, Martis v. Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Co., No. 3-08-0004, by clicking here.