Pierscionek v. Illinois High School Ass’n, 2015 WL 6550826 (1st Dist. 2015). 2014-CH-19131
The Honorable Leroy K. Martine, Jr. of Cook County’s Chancery Division dismissed both counts of a lawsuit brought on behalf high school student athletes against Illinois High School Association. The Plaintiffs alleged that IHSA failed to minimize the risk of concussions or to act in a way that would do the same. The Plaintiffs argued that IHSA’s policies have not kept up with the latest science and research on concussion prevention in minor athletes. Plaintiffs asked the Court to force the IHSA to update its policies to reflect the most recent science on concussion prevention and to have the IHSA establish a fund to pay for medical monitoring of the high school student athletes.
While what the Plaintiffs ask for sounds like a good idea, having the Court impose pure policy changes is improper. The Court found the Plaintiffs were essentially asking the Court to take the place of the legislature. The separation of powers argument was persuasive on its own but was also supported by insufficient pleadings.
Illinois is a “fact pleading” state, which means lawsuits must allege facts that can be proven and, when taken together, lead to conclusions that are supported by law. When a complaint merely contains conclusions or facts that cannot be proven, or when either are not supported by law then the complaint does not properly plead facts and will be dismissed. The Court found that the majority of Plaintiff’s complaint contained conclusions rather than factual allegations capable of being proven which made it insufficient. ISHA made seven arguments that Plaintiff’s complaint should be dismissed with prejudice and the Court agreed with all but one.