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Stack v. Regional Transportation Authority

OPINION FILED MARCH 23, 1984.

PAUL STACK ET AL., APPELLANTS,

v.

THE REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY ET AL., APPELLEES. — JOHN BURNS ET AL., APPELLANTS,

v.

THE REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY ET AL., APPELLEES.



No. 58093 — Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Harold A. Siegan, Judge, presiding.

No. 58098 — Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Anthony J. Scotillo, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Ray G. Rezner and W. Scott Porterfield of Fishman, Merrick & Perlman, P.C., and Michael L. Closen, all of Chicago, for appellants.

Jeremiah Marsh, Michael Schneiderman, Michael M. Conway, John L. Rogers III and Albert C. Maule, all of Hopkins & Sutter, of Chicago (Carl J. Frank, of counsel), for appellee Regional Transportation Authority.

Jean M. Golden of Cassiday, Schade & Gloor, and John O. DeMaret and Ronald F. Bartkowicz, all of Chicago, for appellee Chicago Transit Authority.

In Docket No. 58093, plaintiff, Paul Stack, and other named plaintiffs, filed a class action in the circuit court of Cook County alleging that defendants, the Regional Transportation Authority, its board members and five commuter rail carriers, had breached contracts entered into with each member of the plaintiff class by refusing to fully honor monthly passes purchased by plaintiffs which entitled them to ride on commuter trains operated by defendants.

In Docket No. 58098, plaintiff, John T. Burns, and other named plaintiffs, represented a class of plaintiffs who sued defendants, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), for breach of contract resulting from defendants' refusal to fully honor monthly passes purchased by the plaintiffs which entitled them to ride buses operated by defendants. The circuit court of Cook County concluded that the defendants breached the contracts and in both actions granted partial summary judgment for the plaintiffs.

Members of the plaintiff class in Stack are individuals who, prior to a July 6, 1981, fare increase, purchased from defendants July 1981 monthly commuter-train passes. Because of the fare increase, defendants invalidated the monthly passes effective July 27, 1981, thereby requiring plaintiffs to pay additional fares for transportation for the remaining days in July. Members of the class in Burns are individuals who, prior to a July 6, 1981, fare increase, purchased from defendant CTA July 1981 monthly bus passes.

In Stack (58093), pursuant to Rule 308 (87 Ill.2d R. 308), the circuit court certified the following question:

"Did plaintiffs as a result of their purchase of July, 1981 passes for commuter rail service on or before July 6, 1981, acquire rights which any of the defendants — the Regional Transportation Authority, its individual board members, the ICG, the Burlington, the N&W or the Northeast — breached by the refusal to honor July, 1981 monthly passes after July 26, 1981?"

A similar question was certified in Burns (58098):

"Did plaintiffs have a contract with the Chicago Transit Authority or the Regional Transportation Authority or both as a result of their purchase of July CTA monthly passes prior to July 6, 1981, which contract was breached by the imposition of a per ride surcharge from July 6 to July 31, 1981, following enactment of ordinances by the CTA and RTA imposing general fare increases effective July 6, 1981 * * *?"

Pursuant to Rule 308, the appellate court allowed leave to appeal in both cases. In Burns, the appellate court reversed the judgment of the circuit court and remanded the cause with directions to enter judgment in favor of defendants. (Burns v. Regional Transportation Authority (1982), 112 Ill. App.3d 464.) In Stack v. Regional Transportation Authority (1983), 111 Ill. App.3d 1163, the appellate court, in a Rule 23 order (87 Ill.2d R. 23), followed the decision in Burns, reversed the partial summary judgment entered in favor of plaintiffs and remanded the causes to the circuit court with directions to enter judgment in favor of defendants. We allowed plaintiffs' petitions for leave to appeal (87 Ill.2d R. 315) and consolidated the causes for further proceedings. The relevant facts are adequately stated in the appellate court opinion and will be restated here to the extent necessary to discuss the issues.

In reversing the judgment in Burns, the appellate court held that there was a contractual relationship between plaintiffs and the RTA and CTA and that a monthly pass is a receipt "which reflects prepayment of the current fare and is subject to the statutory powers and obligations of the carrier." (Burns v. Regional Transportation Authority (1982), 112 Ill. App.3d 464, 471.) It held, however, that the contractual terms were not breached by defendants' requirement of the surcharge "because of defendants' ...


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