SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS
531 N.E.2d 1, 125 Ill. 2d 230, 125 Ill. Dec. 822 1988.IL.1404
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Willard J. Lassers, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE WARD delivered the opinion of the court. CLARK and STAMOS, JJ., took no part in the consideration of this case.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE WARD
The Chicago Transit Authority brings this direct appeal under Supreme Court Rule 302(a) (107 Ill. 2d R. 302(a)) from a judgment of the circuit court of Cook County which held section 27 of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 111 2/3, par. 327) unconstitutional. The section immunizes the CTA from tort liability for any failure to protect passengers from criminal acts of third parties.
The plaintiff, Bogdan Bilyk, filed a complaint in the circuit court of Cook County charging the defendant with negligence and wilful and wanton misconduct. The complaint alleged that the plaintiff, while a passenger on a CTA bus, informed the driver that certain passengers, who appeared to be intoxicated, were smoking, being disruptive, and threatening to physically harm him. The plaintiff asked the driver to order the passengers to stop smoking, to evict them and to protect him. The plaintiff alleged that the driver took no action, even though he should have known an assault was likely and had an opportunity to eject the passengers or to summon police. He alleged that, as a result of the CTA driver's inaction, he was severely beaten by the other passengers and suffered permanent injuries.
The defendant, CTA, moved to dismiss the complaint, claiming that the action was barred by section 27 of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 111 2/3, par. 327), which absolves the CTA of liability in tort for criminal acts of third parties. The circuit court denied the defendant's motion, holding that section 27 violated the provisions of the Constitution of Illinois which guarantee a remedy for "all injuries and wrongs" (Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, § 12) and which prohibit special legislation (Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, § 13). The court also held that the statute violated the equal protection guarantees of the United States and State Constitutions. (U.S. Const., amend. XIV; Ill. Const. 1970, art. I, § 2.) The CTA appealed directly to this court under Supreme Court Rule 302(a) (107 Ill. 2d R. 302(a)).
Three issues are presented: (1) whether section 27 of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 111 2/3, par. 327) violates the equal protection assurance of the Illinois and United States Constitutions; (2) whether section 27 violates the proscription against special legislation in the Constitution of Illinois; and (3) whether section 27 violates the Illinois Constitution's guarantee of a remedy for all injuries and wrongs.
Section 27 of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act (the Act) provides:
"In the policing of its properties the Board may provide for the appointment and maintenance, from time to time, of such police force as it may find necessary and practicable to aid and supplement the police forces of any municipality in the protection of . . . the persons and property of its passengers and employees . . .. . . . Neither the Authority , the members of its Board nor its officers or employees shall be held liable for failure to provide a security or police force or, if a security or police force is provided, for failure to provide adequate police protection or security, failure to prevent the commission of crimes by fellow passengers or other third persons or for the failure to apprehend criminals." (Emphasis added.) Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 111 2/3, par. 327.
The emphasized sentence of this section was added by Public Act 84-939. That statute also added substantially similar language to other statutes to immunize the Regional Transportation Authority Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 111 2/3, par. 702.08) and cities and counties which organize a local mass transit district (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 111 2/3, par. 354).
Like all legislative enactments, section 27 carries a strong presumption of constitutionality (Bernier v. Burris (1986), 113 Ill. 2d 219, 227), and all doubts must be resolved in favor of its validity (Harris v. Manor Healthcare Corp. (1986), 111 Ill. 2d 350, 363). Accordingly, the burden rests upon the plaintiff, as the challenging party, to rebut this presumption. People v. Bales 11985), 108 Ill. 2d 182, 188.
We first consider the plaintiff's claim that section 27 is arbitrary and creates unreasonable classifications violative of the proscription against special legislation and the equal protection guarantees. Although these constitutional challenges are ...