Meyers, Flowers, Bruno, McPhedran & Herrmann attorneys Jim McPhedran and Pat Herrmann and Meyers & Flowers attorneys Craig Brown, Chris Warmbold, and Tom Connelly successfully argued a challenging interlocutory appeal in front of the Illinois Third District Appellate Court, resulting in an opinion in favor of their client, Jose, a blue-collar worker who suffered a significant injury to his right hand in an industrial work accident in 2017. Barajas v. BCN Technical Services, Inc. et al., 2023 IL App (3d) 220178.
In 2019, Jose filed suit against Rockford Systems, LLC, the company believed to have been responsible for safeguarding the machine that caused Jose’s injuries. However, after filing suit, the Meyers & Flowers team of attorneys learned the actual identity of the responsible company was Rockford Systems, Inc., not Rockford Systems, LLC, and amended Jose’s complaint in 2020 to name Rockford Systems, Inc. and its related entities RMS Liquidating, Inc. and RMS of Illinois, Inc.,
Notably, the newly named defendants were corporations that had dissolved in 2014, so they sought to dismiss the case on the grounds that the entities dissolved more than five years prior and therefore, could not be named as parties to the suit because of the 5-year corporate survival period set forth in 805 ILCS 5/12.80. The circuit court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss but certified a question for the Third District to answer on an interlocutory appeal:
“Under 735 ILCS 5/2-616(d), can an amended pleading adding a dissolved corporation more than five years after its dissolution relate back to the five-year post dissolution limitations period set forth in 805 ILCS 5/12.80?”
The appeal required particular legal savvy as the defendants again argued Jose was barred from naming Rockford Systems, Inc., RMS Liquidating, Inc., and RMS of Illinois, Inc. because they were named as defendants after the 5-year corporate survival period had lapsed. However, the teams at Meyers, Flowers, Bruno, McPhedran & Herrmann and Meyers & Flowers argued that the language of the 5-year corporate survival statute is not an exception to the relation back statute, 735 ILCS 5/2-616(d).
The Third District ultimately agreed and answered the certified question in the affirmative by assessing the language of the relation back statute “in tandem” with the language of the corporate survival period. The Court noted that the “clear and unambiguous language” of 2-616(d) “clear[ly] and unambiguous[ly]” states that an action against a party not originally named is not precluded by “lapse of time under any statute . . . prescribing or limiting the time within which an action may be brought.” As such, the Court opined that 12.80 is not an exception to 2-616(d), but rather 12.80 fits squarely within the language set forth by 2-616(d). The Court furthered its opinion by observing that the legislature did not include limitation period language in the statutes and trusted the legislature would have done so if it intended.
Thus, Jose properly named Rockford Systems, Inc., RMS Liquidating, Inc., and RMS of Illinois, Inc. in the amended complaint despite their dissolved statuses. The case has been remanded back to the circuit court and will resume with all parties now named in the amended complaint.
This case is the latest example of the teams at Meyers, Flowers, Bruno, McPhedran & Herrmann and Meyers & Flowers’ ability and willingness to fight for their clients at every level of the judicial system. Their efforts earned them a reputation as a legal team that will ensure their client’s claims are resolved fairly and properly no matter the obstacles that need to be overcome to reach a just resolution. If you or someone you know has been injured by the actions of others, we want to hear from you. Call us 24/7 at 630-232-6333 for your free, no obligation case evaluation or click here.