In a Case of Wrongful Death Should the Place of Decedent's Death Be Proper Venue for Legal Action ?
In Bradbury v. St. Mary's Hospital of Kankakee, 273 Ill. App. 3d 555, 652 N.E.2d 1228, 210 Ill. Dec. 252 (1995), plaintiff filed a wrongful death action in the circuit court of Cook County against defendants for alleged medical negligence resulting in her son Joseph's death.
Defendant St. Mary's Hospital of Kankakee moved to transfer venue to the circuit court of Kankakee County, alleging venue was improperly fixed in Cook County. Bradbury, 273 Ill. App. 3d at 556-57.
The other defendants filed a similar venue motion and, alternatively, a motion to transfer the action to Kankakee County pursuant to the doctrine of forum non conveniens.
Defendants' motions were denied. Bradbury, 273 Ill. App. 3d at 557.
Plaintiff in Bradbury had been admitted to St. Mary's Hospital where she was treated by defendants, among others.
After being diagnosed as presenting a condition of abruptio placenta, she gave birth to her son, Joseph, by caesarean delivery.
Upon his birth, Joseph was in respiratory distress, suffering from intraventricular hemorrhaging.
He was transferred to the University of Chicago Hospital in Cook County, where he died three days later. Bradbury, 273 Ill. App. 3d at 557.
The Bradbury court applied section 2-101 of the Code in denying the motion.
The Wrongful Death Act provides a remedy to the surviving spouse and next of kin for their pecuniary injuries suffered as a consequence of a decedent's death and governs the right of the persons designated by the statute to recover for their own pecuniary injuries suffered as a consequence of decedent's death. 740 ILCS 180/0.01 et seq. (West 1992); Bradbury, 273 Ill. App. 3d at 558.
Therefore, "the action accrues upon the decedent's death and provides a remedy for damages incurred as a result of the death itself;" "not only is death an element of such an action, it is the last element necessary to render an actor liable for the pecuniary injuries suffered by the surviving spouse and next of kin." Bradbury, 273 Ill. App. 3d at 558.
In a wrongful death action, the place of the wrong is the place of the decedent's death. Bradbury, 273 Ill. App. 3d at 558.
Consequently, the Bradbury court concluded that since section 2-101 of the Code provides venue is proper in the county in which some part of the transaction occurred out of which a cause arises, venue properly could be fixed in Cook County, the county in which plaintiff's decedent died and therefore affirmed the circuit court's denial of defendants' motions, which had alleged improper venue of the action in Cook County. Bradbury, 273 Ill. App. 3d at 558.