In the case of Klesowitch v. Smith, Smith rear-ended Klesowitch while Klesowitch’s car was at a stand-still in the middle of an intersection. At her deposition, Smith admitted she was at fault, but claimed Klesowitch was contributorily negligent.
The Plaintiff filed and won a motion for summary judgment on the issue of sole liability. The Defendant appealed, arguing that the court erred in granting summary judgement because a material fact remained as to contributory negligence. The Defendant argued that granting summary judgment on negligence alone, rather than liability, violated 735 ILCS 5/2-1005(c).
This proved unpersuasive as the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s ruling. Although it didn’t matter what the Plaintiff initially sought in her motion, the trial court was within its rights to make the determination of one or more of the major issues as set forth in 735 ILCS 5/2-1005(d). Here, it was the Defendant’s negligence, which left the Plaintiff’s negligence, if any, and damages left to the discretion of a fact finder.
The Defendant also brought up an issue of the Plaintiff’s medical bills, which were admitted without proper foundation. In Illinois, the full amount billed is allowed into evidence, with evidence of a paid bill being prima facie reasonable. In the event of a future bill or a bill that has not yet been paid, there are foundational requirements that must be set before the bill is admitted. A plaintiff must elicit testimony of a person having knowledge of the services rendered and the usual, and customary charges for such serves to establish reasonableness of the bills to admit them into evidence.
The trial court, over objection, allowed the jury to receive the full amounts of the bills that contained amounts that were written-off. The Defendant argued that the Plaintiff needed testimony establishing the reasonableness of those amounts. The appellate court found this argument persuasive, and after reviewing the record they were unable to find testimony that set the proper foundation for the contested medical bills. They ordered a remittitur and absence of consent of the Plaintiff, a new trial based on damages alone.