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Samuels v. Checker Taxi Co.

OPINION FILED OCTOBER 5, 1978.

KATHY SAMUELS ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

CHECKER TAXI COMPANY, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. PAUL F. ELWARD, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE LINN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Plaintiffs Kathy Samuels and Warren Hirschmann appeal from an order entered on August 18, 1977, dismissing supplemental counts V and VI of their complaint which alleged wilful and wanton misconduct by defendant, Checker Taxi Company (hereinafter Checker), in entrusting a taxi to its driver Charles Brough, a co-defendant. The issue for review is whether plaintiffs alleged sufficient facts to constitute an action for wilful and wanton entrustment.

We affirm the dismissal order entered by the trial court.

Plaintiffs brought an action against Checker and Brough for injuries allegedly received by them on January 1, 1977, when a Checker taxi being driven by Brough collided with their vehicle. Checker and Brough filed answers denying the allegations, and Checker filed a counterclaim against plaintiffs for damages to its taxi.

Plaintiffs subsequently filed supplemental counts III-VI. Counts III and IV alleged negligent entrustment of the vehicle to Brough on the part of Checker, and counts V and VI alleged wilful and wanton entrustment on the part of Checker for which plaintiffs sought punitive damages. In summary, plaintiffs allege Checker was guilty of wilful and wanton misconduct in that it:

(1) Failed to exercise due care in hiring drivers,

(2) hired Brough as a taxi-driver despite being aware he had a record of careless driving for 10 years prior to the occurrence complained of,

(3) failed to correct the conduct or discipline Brough,

(4) failed to educate Brough as to maintain a high standard of safety,

(5) failed to train Brough in the safe operation of a taxi,

(6) failed to supervise and control the operation of its cab by Brough, and

(7) failed to supervise, educate, and discipline Brough, with the result that injuries were sustained by plaintiffs.

Defendant moved to dismiss counts III-VI, apparently pursuant to section 45 of the Civil Practice Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 110, par. 45), and on August 18 there was a hearing on the motion. Plaintiffs stipulated at the outset that counts III and IV should be dismissed. The court thereafter granted the motion to dismiss with respect to counts V and VI and found there was no just cause or reason for delaying ...


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