Ever since the 1970’s, civil damage awards against the State of Illinois were limited by the Court of Claims Act to $100,000. See 705 ILCS 505/8 (2009). That $100,000 damage cap figure is tied for lowest in the country.
Since July 2015, thirteen residents at the Quincy Veterans Home have died while under the care of the State of Illinois due to Legionnaire’s Disease and the state’s mismanagement of those outbreaks. Under then-existing law, their spouses and next of kin seeking civil justice through the Court of Claims would have been subject to an arbitrary and unjust $100,000 damages cap. Only auto-related claims against the State of Illinois were exempted from this unfair damages cap.
In May 2018, the Illinois General Assembly passed SB 2481, which raises the damages cap for non-auto actions brought in the Court of Claims from $100,000 to $2 million. Better yet, the increased damages cap would be retroactive to July 1, 2015 — in order to apply to claims brought by families of those lost due to Legionnaire’s Disease in Quincy — and will be increased annually to track the Consumer Price Index.
Governor Rauner initially vetoed the bill; however, thankfully the Illinois General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to override the Governor’s veto of SB 2481, and the bill is now law. People who are injured or killed due to the negligence of State of Illinois agents or employees are now eligible for damage awards of up to $2 million.
Passen & Powell has substantial experience representing those injured or killed as a result of state government actions. For a Free Consultation with one of our top-rated attorneys, call us at 312-527-4500.