Law School Case Brief
DeHart v. DeHart - 2013 IL 114137, 369 Ill. Dec. 136, 986 N.E.2d 85
An Ill. Sup. Ct. R. 315 motion attacks the legal sufficiency of the complaint. When ruling on a 735 ILCS 5/2-615 (2008) motion to dismiss, a court must accept as true all well-pleaded facts in the complaint, as well as any reasonable inferences that may arise from them. Moreover, a cause of action should be dismissed under 735 ILCS 5/2-615 only if it is clearly apparent from the pleadings that no set of facts can be proven that would entitle the plaintiff to recover. The crucial inquiry is whether the allegations of the complaint, when construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, are sufficient to establish a cause of action on which relief may be granted. Review of an order granting a 735 ILCS 5/2-615 motion to dismiss is de novo.
James Thomas DeHart, filed a six-count, second-amended complaint against Blanca DeHart, in her individual capacity and as executor of the estate of Donald M. DeHart (Donald), deceased, contesting Donald's will dated December 4, 2006, and raising claims of lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, fraudulent inducement, tortious interference with economic expectancy, contract for adoption and equitable adoption. The circuit court of Will County (Illinois) dismissed with prejudice all of plaintiff's counts. The circuit court also denied plaintiff's motion to compel the deposition of William J. Peters, the attorney who drafted the disputed will. Plaintiff appealed, and the appellate court reversed the dismissal of all six counts and reversed the denial of the motion to compel the deposition of attorney Peters.
Were sufficient facts alleged to state a claim and survive a motion to dismiss?
The Supreme Court of Illinois affirmed the appellate court's judgment, stating that the second amended complaint alleged sufficient facts to state a cause of action for lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, contract for adoption and equitable adoption. The supreme court further found that dismissal of the two tort claims at that point was premature. The appellate court therefore properly reversed the circuit court's dismissal of each of the six counts of the second amended complaint. The appellate court also properly reversed the circuit court's denial of plaintiff's motion to compel the deposition of the attorney. The son had pled sufficient facts to establish that he was the natural object of the decedent's bounty.
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