Bowman v. OttneyAnnotate this Case
Bowman, as special administrator of the Brown estate, brought a medical malpractice action against Doctor Ottney. Following pre-trial rulings on substantial issues involving discovery disclosures, Bowman voluntarily dismissed her complaint. Four months later, she refiled, asserting the same claims of negligence. The refiled suit was assigned to the same judge who had presided over the earlier proceedings. Bowman moved for substitution of judge as of right (735 ILCS 5/2-1001(a)(2)(ii) . The circuit court denied the motion, but certified a question to the appellate court, which concluded that the court had discretion to deny a motion for substitution filed by a plaintiff, where the court had ruled on matters of substance in plaintiff’s previously dismissed suit. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. Bowman could have moved for substitution of judge as of right during the proceedings on her 2009 complaint; even after the judge ruled on matters of substance, Bowman could have moved for substitution for cause under section 2-1001(a)(3) in either the 2009 or the 2013 litigation. Substantiating such a petition is a heavy burden. Acceptance of Bowman’s argument would allow a plaintiff to avoid satisfying that burden through the mechanism of a voluntary dismissal and refiling, thwarting the purpose of the statute.