APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION
504 N.E.2d 927, 152 Ill. App. 3d 771, 105 Ill. Dec. 642 1987.IL.158
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Gerald L. Sbarboro, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE LINN delivered the opinion of the court. McMORROW, P.J., and JOHNSON, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LINN
Defendants, Gregory Pryor and Marriott Corporation (referred to collectively as the defendants), bring this appeal seeking reversal of a jury's verdict in favor of plaintiff, Pamela Roeseke, and against the defendants. Roeseke sued the defendants after she was struck and seriously injured in an accident involving a van being driven by defendant Pryor. *fn1 After a full trial on the merits, the jury determined that Roeseke had suffered $500,000 in damages. However, the jury also found that Roeseke had been 33% comparatively negligent. That being the case, judgment was entered in favor of Roeseke in the amount of $335,000.
The defendants now bring this appeal contending: (1) that the trial court erred in failing to direct a verdict in favor of the defendants or, in the alternative, in failing to grant the defendants' motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict; (2) that the trial court erred in granting Roeseke's motion in limine barring certain testimony by a witness; (3) that the trial court erred in making certain rulings relative to a missing report allegedly compiled by a manager for Marriott Corporation; and (4) that the jury's verdict finding Roeseke to be only 33% comparatively negligent was against the manifest weight of the evidence.
The record reveals that this lawsuit arose from an accident which took place on November 10, 1979. The accident involved 18 to 22 vehicles and occurred on the Kennedy Expressway in suburban Cook County near O'Hare Airport. Those testifying at trial included the plaintiff, Pamela Roeseke, the defendant-driver, Gregory Pryor, several other drivers and passengers involved in the accident, and a policeman who arrived at the scene of the accident subsequent to its occurrence.
Defendant Pryor testified that he was employed by the Marriott Corporation as a bellman and driver. Pryor's duties included, inter alia, transporting Marriott customers from O'Hare Airport to the hotel. On the night of the accident, he was traveling between the Marriott Hotel and O'Hare Airport.
Pryor testified that he did not know the bridge (on which the accident occurred) was icy. He stated that as he approached the bridge, he saw a white auto in front of him that appeared to be parked. As he came upon the vehicle, he applied his brakes. At that point, however, Pryor lost control of his van. The van began sliding sideways and eventually collided with the white auto. The white auto was being driven by Barbara Dorenzo. Pryor asserts that he did everything possible to control his van prior to the collision with Dorenzo's vehicle. After the collision, Pryor's van rested perpendicular to traffic.
Barbara Dorenzo also testified about the accident. Dorenzo stated that as she approached the bridge, she experienced slippery conditions. She immediately began pumping her brakes. As she was attempting to slow down, however, Pryor's sliding van collided with her car pushing it into the guard rail. Dorenzo testified that she never lost control of her vehicle prior to being hit by Pryor's van.
This initial collision between Pryor's van and Dorenzo's vehicle constituted the first mishap of an apparent chain-reaction collision, ultimately resulting in Roeseke's injury.
Plaintiff Roeseke testified that she was driving in a westerly direction along the Kennedy Expressway prior to the accident. The weather was cold and damp and the temperature was near freezing. Roeseke then exited Kennedy and began driving along the Kennedy extension. As she came upon a bridge, however, she noticed several stationary vehicles in front of her. The vehicles ...