McQueen v. Green

Illinois Supreme Court
Civil Court
Vicarious Liability
Case Number: 
2022 IL 126666
Decision Date: 
Thursday, April 21, 2022
Appellate court judgment reversed. Circuit court judgment affirmed.

In an appeal arising out of a personal injury lawsuit, the Illinois Supreme Court considered the following issues: 1) whether an employer who admits liability under the doctrine of respondeat superior may be independently liable for its own negligence, even if the jury finds that the employee was not negligent, and 2) whether the trial court erred in granting the employer’s request for a new trial after the determining the jury rendered legally inconsistent findings. The court concluded it is “settled law” that a plaintiff may plead and prove multiple causes of action and that, so long as there is a good-faith factual basis for a plaintiff’s claim of direct negligence against an employer, the plaintiff is allowed to pursue that claim in addition to a claim of vicarious liability. The court further found that the trial court properly conveyed the applicable law when it struck the last sentence of IPI Civil No. 50.01. Finally, the court found that the verdicts were not legally inconsistent because the jury could reasonably have concluded that the employer was negligent at the same time it concluded that the employee was not. (ANNE M. BURKE, GARMAN, NEVILLE, MICHAEL J. BURKE, OVERSTREET, and CARTER, concurring)