Our panel of leading appellate attorneys review Friday's Illinois Supreme Court opinions in the civil cases Ferguson v. Patton, Julie Q. v. the Department of Children and Family Services and DeHart v. DeHart and the criminal cases People v. Cruz and People v. Donelson.
By Michael T. Reagan, Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan, Ottawa
For more than 50 years plaintiff believed his decedent father’s representation that the decedent was plaintiff’s biological father. Plaintiff found to the contrary when he obtained a certified copy of his birth certificate to obtain a passport, which revealed who his biological father was. That man had abandoned the plaintiff when he was two, and had no further contact. Decedent married plaintiff’s mother, and for more than 60 years held plaintiff out to everyone as his biological son.
Plaintiff’s mother died in April 2001. In 2005, decedent, then 83, married defendant, 29 years his junior. Three hundred sixty-four days later, decedent executed a new will in which he stated “I have no children.” A prior will provided bequests for plaintiff and plaintiff’s children.
Legal suspense builds throughout this Opinion as the court methodically works through the six counts of the complaint which had been dismissed by the circuit court, knowing that what lies at the end will be the court’s treatment of the theories for “contract for adoption” and “equitable adoption.” The appellate court, which had reversed the circuit court’s dismissal of all counts, was affirmed in the entirety.