NO. 4-06-0561 Filed 2/20/07
IN THE APPELLATE COURT
ALEXANDRA PHILLIPS, a Minor, by Her
Mother and Next Friend, LORENA D.
TRAVELL; and LORENA D. TRAVELL,
SHAWN A. DODDS,
Circuit Court of
Patrick W. Kelley,
JUSTICE APPLETON delivered the opinion of the court:
Lorena D. Travell sued Shawn A. Dodds for the cost of
medical treatment for her niece, Alexandra Phillips, whom Dodds
allegedly injured in a traffic accident. Travell claimed that at
the time of the accident, she was in loco parentis to Phillips
and that section 15(a)(1) of the Rights of Married Persons Act
(750 ILCS 65/15(a)(1) (West 2004)), commonly called "the family
expense statute," obliged her to pay the medical bills. Dodds
moved for summary judgment on the ground that Travell was neither
the parent nor the legal guardian of Phillips. The trial court
granted the motion, and Travell appeals. We hold that if one
accepts a child into one's household and stands in loco parentis
to the child, the family expense statute obligates one to pay for
medical treatment the child receives during the relationship.
Therefore we reverse the summary judgment and remand this case
for further proceedings.