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Kitching v. Ridings

OPINION FILED FEBRUARY 1, 1977.

JOSEPH L. KITCHING, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

LOETA R. RIDINGS, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. GEORGE W. UNVERZAGT, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE GUILD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

On October 23, 1975, plaintiff commenced this action for bodily injury which allegedly occurred on July 16, 1969, when plaintiff was bitten by a horse kept by defendant. Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint on the basis that plaintiff's action was barred under the limitation provisions of sections 14 and 21 of the Limitations Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 83, pars. 15, 22), as amended. The trial court granted defendant's motion to dismiss on December 2, 1975. Plaintiff appeals.

The following sequence of events is pertinent upon this appeal:

(1) July 16, 1969: Date of alleged injury.

(2) May 20, 1971: Plaintiff became 18 years of age.

(3) August 24, 1971: Effective date of the amendment of section 131 of the Probate Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 3, par. 131) which lowered the age of majority from 21 to 18 years for males.

(4) July 1, 1972: Effective date of the amendment of section 21 of the Limitations Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1972 Supp., ch. 83, par. 22) to conform to section 131 of the Probate Act. (5) May 20, 1974: Plaintiff reached the age of 21.

(6) October 23, 1975: The complaint was filed.

The question to be decided herein is whether the plaintiff's cause of action is governed by the statutes in effect at the time of the alleged injury or whether either the 1971 amendment of the Probate Act or the 1972 amendment of the Limitations Act affected his cause of action.

At all times pertinent herein the general assembly has provided for a general 2-year statute of limitations for injury to the person (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 83, par. 15). At the time of the alleged injury section 131 of the Probate Act provided:

"Males of the age of 21 and females of the age of 18 shall be considered of legal age for all purposes, * * * and until these ages are attained, they shall be considered minors."

At the same time section 21 of the Limitations Act provided:

"If a person entitled to bring an action, mentioned in the nine preceding sections, is, at the time of the cause of action accrued, within the age of twenty-one years, or if a female, within the age of eighteen years, or insane or mentally ill, or imprisoned on a criminal charge, he or ...


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