Two cases decided 25 years apart, but there were some facts in common: a hot drink, a consumer alleging that she was burned by the drink, and a lawsuit. These are the facts of the 1994 case Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants that resulted in an award of millions to the consumer, but also the facts from Shih v. Starbucks, a case decided last year. In Shih, however, the court found in favor of the product supplier. What’s different about these cases? The answer: how the courts interpreted proximate cause.
Continue Reading The Hot Coffee Case Revisited: Has Proximate Cause Changed in the 25 Years Since Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants?

In Moon v. Rhode, 2015 IL App (3d) 130613, the Illinois Appellate Court announced a bright line rule: a wrongful death action against a physician must be brought within two years of the knowledge of the death, regardless of when the executor learned of an allegedly wrongful cause.  The Court noted that a wrongful death action is created by statute and therefore must be read as written.  The two statutes at issue, the Wrongful Death Act (740 ILCS 180/2) and the statute of limitations for actions against physicians (735 ILCS 5/13-212(a)), both use the date of death as the determinative date for the accrual of a cause of action.  Because the Moon case was a medical malpractice case, the specific statute related to claims brought against hospitals or physicians applied rather than the general two-year statute for personal injuries.
Continue Reading Illinois Court Adopts Bright Line Rule for Statute of Limitations in Wrongful Death Suit