APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon.
NICHOLAS J. BUA, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE HAYES DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Rehearing denied April 18, 1973.
This is an appeal from an order dismissing with prejudice plaintiff's complaint for damages allegedly arising from a train-truck collision. A review of the history of the litigation is necessary to highlight the issues raised in this appeal. For convenience, this history will be presented in chronological order with the applicable law interspersed as it becomes involved.
1. On 2 April 1965, the train-truck collision occurred, in which plaintiff was injured.
2. In 1967, prior to the expiration of the two-year Statute of Limitation applicable to plaintiff's cause of action (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1965, 1967, Chapter 83, Section 15), plaintiff filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of Cook County seeking damages for injuries allegedly incurred through the negligence of defendants in the train-truck collision.
3. After one pre-trial conference in the summer of 1969, and on 11 May 1970, a second pre-trial conference was set for 7 July 1970, at which plaintiff was ordered to appear in person. Supreme Court Rule 218(a) gives the trial court the discretion to enter such an order, even when plaintiff's attorney is, as he must be, fully authorized to act on behalf of plaintiff. "Rule 218. PRE-TRIAL PROCEDURE (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, Chapter 110(A), Section 218)
"(a) Conference. In any civil case, the court may hold a pre-trial conference. At the conference counsel familiar with the case and authorized to act shall appear with or without the parties as the court directs, * * *."
4. On 7 July 1970, plaintiff's counsel, fully authorized to act on behalf of plaintiff, appeared, but plaintiff did not appear. The court had been notified by plaintiff's counsel about a week before that plaintiff was in New York City and would be unable to appear.
5. On 8 July 1970, the court entered the following order:
"It is therefore ordered, adjudged, and decreed that this cause be and the same is hereby dismissed for noncompliance with Supreme Court Rules 218 and 219(c) and the order of this Court entered on May 11, 1970."
Supreme Court Rule 218(d) provides:
"(d) Enforcement. The court shall make and enforce all rules and orders necessary to compel compliance with this rule, and may apply the remedies provided in paragraph (c) of Rule 219."
Supreme Court Rule 219(c) provides:
"Rule 219. Consequences of refusal to comply with rules or orders relating to discovery or pre-trial conferences. (Ill. Rev. Stat. ...