Estate planning

Challenges to the Constitutionality of the Punitive Damages Amendments to the Illinois Unlawful Killing Statute and Wills Law – Wills/Intestates/Estate Planning


Like Wilson Elser I mentioned recently, the Illinois Manslaughter Statute (740 ILCS 180/1, et seq.) and the Wills Statute (755 ILCS 5/27-6) were amended to allow plaintiffs to recover punitive damages in wrongful death and survival suits. Defendants can—and must—challenge these amendments as unconstitutional pursuant to the requirements of the three readings of the Illinois Constitution. be seenIllinois Constitution, art. Fourth, section 8(d). Although such appeals would be overturned on the registered bill principle, they would lay the groundwork for requiring the Illinois Supreme Court to reconsider and dismiss that principle, thus finding the amendments unconstitutional.

The Three Reading Requirements of the Illinois Constitution and the Registered Bill Doctrine

The requirement of three readings in the Illinois Constitution states that a bill “shall be read by title on three different days in each House. The Bill and every amendment thereto shall be reproduced and placed on the desk of each member before its final passage.” In addition, “Bills shall be confined to one subject”; “A bill amending the law shall expressly state the amended sections in their entirety”; And “the speaker of the House of Representatives and the speaker of the Senate must sign each bill passed in both chambers to confirm that the procedural requirements for its passage are met.”

The purpose of the three-reading requirement rule is “to ensure that the legislature is fully aware of the contents of the bills they will be voting on and to allow legislators to debate the legislation.” Equally important to the three-reading rule is the opportunity for the public to view and read a bill before it is passed, giving the public an opportunity To express their concerns or support for proposed legislation with their elected representatives and senators. First Midwest Bank vs. Rossi2023 Application (IV) 220643, ¶ 231.

The Illinois Supreme Court adopted the bill-on-record principle, which states that “once the Speaker of the House and Speaker of the Senate have certified that procedural requirements for passage of a bill are satisfied, the bill is conclusively presumed to have satisfied all procedural requirements for passage.” Friends of the Parks v. Chicago Park District203 Elite 2d 312, 328-329 (2003).

In accordance with the principle of the registered bill, the Supreme Court has said that it “will not invalidate the legislation on the basis of the three readings requirement if the legislation is passed.” Identification card.; See also, First Bank of the Midwest, 2023 IL App (4th) 220643, ¶222: “(c) Certification by the Speaker of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives that constitutional procedures have been complied with to pass the legislation in question (1) provides conclusive evidence of compliance and (2) is not subject to judicial review” based on The principle of separation of powers.

The three reading requirements for wrongful death/survival mods were not followed.

As described in Case Bill HB0219, the bill that became the wrongful death/survivor amendments began with House Bill 219 (HB 219), titled the “Consolidated Deposit and Discovery Act.” HB 219 abstract states, “(a) Amends the Uniform Interstate Deposit and Discovery Act. Makes a technical change in a section relating to the short title.”

HB 219 had its first Council reading on January 12, 2023, and its second Council reading on March 16, 2023. On May 15, 2023, Council Room Amendment #1 to HB 219 was submitted to the Clerk. This modification is on HB 219 floor Excluded Consolidated Declarations and Discoveries Act, and replaced everything after the legislative clause with wrongful death/survival adjustments.

On May 16, 2023, the following occurred in the House of Representatives:

  • HB 219 was amended in the House of Representatives two more times, with both amendments relating to the unlawful killing/survival laws.

  • House Floor Amendment No. 1 was passed. The Uniform Deposit and Discovery Act thus became the wrongful death/survival amendments.

  • House Floor Amendment No. 3 was adopted. This amendment added provisions stating that punitive damages are not available in wrongful death and survival suits against local governments or in art remedy and statutory malpractice suits.

  • After the adoption of House Amendments No. 1 and 3, HB 219 was re-read for the third time and voted on. It was approved by the House of Representatives by a vote of 75 “yes” and 40 “no” and sent to the Senate.

In the Senate, HB 219 was given its first reading on May 16, 2023, its second reading on May 17, 2023, and its third reading on May 18, 2023. On May 18, 2023, the Senate passed HB 219 by an overwhelming majority. 37 “yes”, 19 “no”, and 1 “present”. After certification by the Senate President and the House Speaker upon passage by both houses, HB 219 was sent to Governor JB Pritzker on June 16, 2023 and signed into law August 11, 2023.

The above facts prove that the three reading requirements were not adhered to in the House of Representatives because HB 219 was granted the first two readings when it was He suggested amending a completely different law Uniform Deposit and Discovery Act. Once the original script for HB 219 was scrapped and replaced with illicit death/survival mods, it received Just one read At home. The fact that HB 219 was read three times in the House of Representatives as “HB 219” does not negate this constitutional shortcoming—the bill read the third time was not the same bill that had been read the previous two times.

Challenging wrongful death/survival modifications and creating a record

Wilson Elser recommends that defendants challenge wrongful death/survival amendments as unconstitutional on the basis of the three reading requirement for the above reasons. In such appeals, we would expect the trial court (and the appellate court) to conclude that it could not find the amendments unconstitutional on this ground as per the registered bill principle.

However, cases requiring the Supreme Court to reconsider the principle of a registered bill have to start somewhere. In the past three years, three reported decisions have urged the Supreme Court to do just that:

  • First Midwest Bank vs. Rossi2023 App. IL (IV) 220643, ¶¶ 238-240 (Re: Amendments to Statutes for Benefit of Judgment).

  • Accuracy Firearms, LLC v. Pritzker2023 IL App(v) 230035, ¶¶ 36-46 (re: Illinois Communities Protection Act).

  • Du v. Lyft2020 IL App (1st) 191328, ¶¶ 52-55 (re: Transmission Network Service Providers Act).

Moreover, there are at least two justices of the Supreme Court who accept reconsideration of the principle of the draft law on record. bar
Caulkins v. Pritzker, 2023 IL 129453, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Illinois Communities Protection Act, a law that prohibits the sale of certain assault weapons and ammunition. Justice Holder White, joined by Justice Overstreet, objected, holding that she would reject the principle of the bill on record and find the law unconstitutional on the basis of the three-reading clause. Caulkins2023 Ill 129453, ¶¶ 105-113.

Because the wrongful death/survivorship amendments do not change the requirements of 735 ILCS 5/2-604.1, which prohibit the pursuit of punitive damages in a complaint, plaintiffs seeking punitive damages in wrongful death/survivorship claims must They apply for permission to plead for punitive damages. We recommend including the constitutional argument outlined above in opposition to such a proposal.

In addition to the constitutional argument, we recommend including a discussion of why the principle of the bill on record was rejected in the hope that this discussion will be included in the court’s order or opinion. Court of Appeal – Fourth Circuit First Bank of the Midwest, aboveHe was particularly outspoken on this point, looking forward to the partial dissent of Justice Hebel V People v. Dunigan165 Ill. 2d 235 (1995), where he addressed the problematic impact of the registered bill principle in the context of the three-reading rule:

The interpretation of a constitutional text depends, in the first place, on the clear meaning of its language. And then, it depends on the common understanding of the citizens who, by ratifying the Constitution, have given it life. The court considers the debates of conference delegates only when there is an ambiguous constitutional provision. There is no ambiguity in the provision requiring the legislature to read a bill on three different days in each House, or the provision requiring the bill to receive a majority of votes in each House, or the provision requiring the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate to sign each Bill To confirm that the procedural requirements for approval are met. First Bank of the Midwest2023 App IL (IV) 220643, ¶238 (citation omitted).

Then the fourth circle concluded:

Our legislators are sworn in to support the United States Constitution and the Illinois Constitution. The same is required for the circuit court, as well as the courts of appeal, the Supreme Court and some members of the executive authority. Allowing legislators to continue to ignore constitutional mandates under the bill-on-record doctrine, knowing full well that constitutional requirements have not been met, diminishes the language of the oath, ignores the need for transparency in government, and undermines the language of this state’s constitution. First Bank of the Midwest2023 IL App (IV) 220643, ¶240 (citation omitted).

Wilson Elser will continue to report on unlawful death/survival mods as new developments occur.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject. It is advised to take the advice of specialists in such circumstances.


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