In 2010, two women who had been domestic partners since 1981 became involved in litigation related to the end of their relationship. In particular, Jane Blumenthal sought a partition of the residence that both women jointly owned. Her former partner, Eileen Brewer, filed a counterclaim that sought the restitution of funds that Blumenthal had used from the couple's joint account to purchase a medical practice.
The Circuit Court of Cook County dismissed Brewer's restitution claim, citing the Illinois Supreme Court's ruling in Hewitt v. Hewitt, 77 Ill.2d 49 (1979), which held that Illinois public policy precludes unmarried cohabitants from bringing claims designed to enforce mutual property rights based on a marriage-like relationship. The Illinois Appellate Court, First District reversed, finding that the public policy discussed in Hewitt has changed since 1979 because the public's attitudes towards marriage have changed significantly.
Late this summer, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the first district in Blumenthal v. Brewer. The high court held that Hewitt remains good law and scolded the first district for violating the principle of stare decisis.