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Gill v. Chicago Park District

OPINION FILED JUNE 13, 1980.

MICHAEL GILL, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

THE CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. MYRON T. GOMBERG, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied July 18, 1980.

Plaintiff brought an action for common law negligence against Chicago Park District, a municipal corporation (hereinafter District), Chicago Bears Football Club, Inc. (hereinafter Club), and Andy Frain, Inc. (hereinafter Frain) as the owner, lessee and security personnel of Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. His complaint alleged that while on these premises, he sustained personal injuries as a result of an unprovoked assault by third persons. He appeals from the trial court's order granting summary judgment in favor of defendants contending that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment for defendants when it found that they owed no duty to protect him from the unforeseeable assault that led to his injuries.

On September 23, 1973, plaintiff was attending a football game at Soldier Field. During the third quarter of the game, he left his seat to go to the washroom. About 100 feet from his seat, he began descending the stairs, which led to the washrooms. Suddenly, without warning, he noticed a hand reaching into his front pocket where he kept his money clip. Plaintiff turned to see what was happening and was thrown over the railing onto the ground below by two men. As a result, he suffered serious injuries. The assailants, whom he could not identify, were never apprehended.

His amended complaint basically alleges that defendants were negligent in failing to warn plaintiff of the danger of violent attacks by unruly spectators and in not providing adequate security to guard against such attacks.

Plaintiff filed his original complaint against defendants on September 18, 1975. Each defendant filed its own motion for summary judgment.

On January 4, 1979, the trial court held a hearing on the motion for summary judgment as to defendant Frain and ruled in its favor.

On January 23, 1979, the trial court denied plaintiff's motion to vacate the January 4, 1979, order. On February 5, 1979, plaintiff filed a motion to reconsider the court's ruling of January 23, 1979. This motion was denied.

Summary judgment was granted to defendants Club and District on February 7, 1979. In so ruling, the trial court specifically found the following: "* * * there was no duty on the part of the defendants to foresee the criminal act which allegedly occurred to plaintiff. Any judgment in favor of plaintiff would, in effect, make defendants insurers of plaintiff's safety."

On March 9, 1979, plaintiff filed his notice of appeal in this matter.

On October 19, 1979, we dismissed the appeal as to defendant Frain for plaintiff's failure to file a timely notice of appeal. This appeal will consider only the contentions of the remaining defendants, the District and the Club.

OPINION

Plaintiff contends that the trial court erroneously granted summary judgment for defendants. According to plaintiff, defendants had a duty to protect plaintiff under the circumstances regardless of the intervening criminal attack of the two assailants.

For plaintiff to prevail in this negligence action, he must prove that defendants owed a duty to him, they breached that duty, and his injury proximately resulted from that breach. (Cunis v. Brennan (1974), 56 Ill.2d 372, 308 N.E.2d 617.) Because the trial court found that defendants had no duty to protect plaintiff from the criminal assault by the two men, we ...


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