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Freeding-skokie Roll-off v. Hamilton

OPINION FILED SEPTEMBER 20, 1985.

FREEDING-SKOKIE ROLL-OFF SERVICE, INC., ET AL., APPELLEES,

v.

BETTY HAMILTON, APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Gerald T. Rohrer, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant, Betty Hamilton, appealed from the judgment of the circuit court of Cook County entered upon a jury verdict in favor of plaintiffs, Freeding-Skokie Roll-Off Service, Inc., and James Harris. The appellate court affirmed in a Rule 23 order (87 Ill.2d R. 23; 125 Ill. App.3d 1157), and we allowed defendant's petition for leave to appeal (94 Ill.2d R. 315(a)).

Plaintiffs brought this action seeking recovery for damages to plaintiff Freeding-Skokie's truck allegedly caused by defendant's negligence. Defendant counterclaimed seeking damages for injuries suffered allegedly as the result of plaintiff Harris' negligence. On January 17, 1980, defendant was driving westbound on Willow Road in North Township and, as she approached the intersection of Old Willow Road intending to make a left turn, she entered the designated left-turn lane. As she turned, her automobile was struck by Freeding-Skokie's truck, which was being driven eastbound on Willow Road by Harris. Defendant suffered retrograde amnesia in the occurrence and was unable to testify to the circumstances surrounding the collision.

Defendant contends that the circuit court erred in admitting, over objection, the opinion testimony of James Harris and a witness that the collision could not have been avoided. During direct examination of plaintiff Harris, the following colloquy ensued:

"Q. [by plaintiff's counsel] Jim, in your opinion, is there any way you could have avoided this accident?

MR. SMITH: Your Honor, I will object to that. That's a matter for the jury to decide.

THE COURT: Overruled. He can answer that question.

A. No, Sir."

During direct examination of an occurrence witness, Thomas McCarty, the following exchange occurred:

"Q. [by plaintiffs' counsel] When that truck, when the car turned in front of the truck, did you have the impression that the truck was so close that the car should never have turned?

MR. SMITH: Your Honor, that's a leading question. I'll object to it.

THE COURT: As to the leading nature of it, I'll sustain.

Q. What, if any, impression did you have with respect to that, sir?

A. My impression was that the driver of the car did not see the truck and turned ...


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