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Case Law Update: Voluntary Dismissal in Wrongful Death

Green v. Northwest Community Hospital, No. 1-09-2233 (4-28-10) reversed the Circuit Court decision and found that voluntary dismissal order falls within exception to general rule against claim-splitting, where court’s order stated “plaintiff is granted leave to voluntarily dismiss with leave to reinstate as a matter of right”, and thus clearly and unmistakably granted leave to refile the action. Court properly dismissed claims for wrongful death, survival, and loss of consortium, which reached final judgment in first action, but erred in dismissing consumer fraud and health care fraud claims, which did not reach final judgment in first action because order expressly reserved right to refile. This Illinois case will impact wrongful death law.

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