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07/13/88 Jeffrey G. Andrews, v. Marshall's of Oak Lawn

July 13, 1988

JEFFREY G. ANDREWS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

MARSHALL'S OF OAK LAWN, ILLINOIS, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, THIRD DIVISION

527 N.E.2d 430, 173 Ill. App. 3d 162, 122 Ill. Dec. 932 1988.IL.1080

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Thomas R. Rakowski, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE RIZZI delivered the opinion of the court. WHITE, P.J., concurs. JUSTICE FREEMAN, Dissenting.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE RIZZI

Plaintiff, Jeffrey Andrews, appeals from an order of the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of defendant, Cecchin Plumbing and Heating, Inc., on count I of plaintiff's amended complaint. In count I, plaintiff alleges that defendant violated "An Act to protect workers and the general public from injury or death during construction or repair of bridges and highways within the State of Illinois" (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 121, par. 314.1 et seq.), commonly referred to as the Road Construction Injuries Act (Act). We affirm.

On October 27, 1978, plaintiff was operating an automobile in a northbound direction on Cicero Avenue in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Cicero Avenue is a six-lane north/south highway, with three lanes of traffic running in each direction. At that time, excavation work was being performed in the easternmost northbound lane of Cicero Avenue just north of 97th Street. Defendant was involved in the excavation work, which consisted of an approximately eight-by-eight-foot hole that had been filled in. Barricades were placed over the excavation area. Due to this work, the easternmost lane of northbound Cicero was partially closed. However, at the site of the excavation, the remaining two northbound lanes of Cicero were totally open to traffic, as were the three southbound lanes. Moreover, the easternmost lane of Cicero was open after the excavation site.

In count I of his amended complaint, plaintiff alleges that he drove his car into the barricades covering the excavation work. According to plaintiff, this caused him to lose control of his car and crash. Plaintiff further alleges that defendant failed to comply with section 4 of the Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 121, par. 314.4), and that as a direct and proximate result of defendant's violation of the Act, plaintiff was injured.

Defendant subsequently filed its motion for summary judgment on May 14, 1984. On November 28, 1984, following argument of counsel, defendant's motion was denied. Thereafter, on December 28, 1984, defendant filed a motion for reconsideration of the trial court's order. The hearing on this motion was presided over by another Judge. Following this second hearing, the trial court reversed its order of November 28 and entered summary judgment in favor of defendant. Plaintiff then filed a motion for reconsideration. While plaintiff's request was granted, the trial court ultimately determined that the summary judgment entered in defendant's favor on count I of plaintiff's amended complaint was correct.

On appeal, plaintiff argues that the Act is applicable to the circumstances of his case. It is plaintiff's contention that the Act applies to causes of action which occur even where two-way traffic is maintained. We disagree.

It is well established that the purpose of the Act is to protect both workmen and the general public from injury or death during the construction or repair of bridges and highways within Illinois. (Eggers v. H. W. Lochner, Inc. (1987), 157 Ill. App. 3d 822, 824, 510 N.E.2d 1022, 1024, citing Vegich v. McDougal Hartmann Co. (1981), 84 Ill. 2d 461, 419 N.E.2d 918; Dodson v. Shaw (1983), 113 Ill. App. 3d 1063, 448 N.E.2d 188.) Section 1 of the Act states:

"All construction work upon bridges or highways within the State of Illinois shall be so performed and conducted that two-way traffic will be maintained when such is safe and practical, and when not safe and practical, or when any portion of the highway is obstructed, one-way traffic shall be maintained, unless the authorized agency in charge of said construction directs the road be closed to all traffic." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 121, par. 314.1.)

Other sections of the Act state that: (1) a contractor engaged in road construction work is required to furnish flagmen or traffic signals at construction sites where one-way traffic is being utilized (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 121, par. 314.2); (2) the public has a duty to obey flagmen and traffic signals at such construction sites (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 121, par. 314.3); and (3) contractors, subcontractors or authorized agents who knowingly or wilfully violate the Act are liable for such violations (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 121, pars. 314.5, 314.6).

In Dodson v. Shaw (1983), 113 Ill. App. 3d 1063, 448 N.E.2d 918, this court addressed a situation similar to the one at issue here. In Dodson, the plaintiff was injured when the vehicle he was driving crashed into a bridge abutment. The plaintiff then filed suit against the construction company working on the bridge. In his complaint against the construction company, the plaintiff alleged a violation of the Act. At the time of the plaintiff's injury, two-way traffic was being maintained on the highway. Thereafter, at ...


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