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12/27/88 Bruce Lane, v. the City of Harvey

December 27, 1988

BRUCE LANE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

THE CITY OF HARVEY, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE

THIS IS AN APPEAL FROM AN ORDER GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF DEFENDANT, THE CITY OF HARVEY (CITY), PURSUANT TO SECTION 2-1005 OF THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE (ILL. RE

v.

STAT. 1987, CH. 110, PAR. 2-1005).



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION

533 N.E.2d 75, 178 Ill. App. 3d 270, 127 Ill. Dec. 457 1988.IL.1876

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Thomas P. Quinn, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the court. CAMPBELL, P.J., and BUCKLEY, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE O'CONNOR

On appeal, the plaintiff's principal contention is that the City was not entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law as material questions of fact existed as to the City's duty to train him as a traffic controller. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

Plaintiff, Bruce Lane, was employed as a plant security guard by Diamond Detective Agency. One of his duties was to direct traffic outside the Arco Plant in Harvey, Illinois. On September 30, 1982, while directing traffic outside of the plant, he was injured when he was struck by a motorist, Agnes Crawford. Following his injury, plaintiff filed suit against Arco, Atlantic Richfield Company, M.R.W. Investments and the City of Harvey. Only the City is a party to this appeal.

According to deposition testimony, since 1972 traffic control at the Arco plant in Harvey had been predominately provided first by the Graham Detective Agency, and later by the Diamond Detective Agency. Between 1975 and 1978, the City of Harvey also intermittently had provided traffic control through its police department if sufficient officers were available. Deputy Police Chief Stanley Morris testified that the City had trained private traffic controllers when requested to do so; however, neither Lane, the Diamond Detective Agency nor Arco had requested the City to train Lane or assist him with traffic control. Sgt. Levon of the Harvey police department testified to the effect that he had watched Lane directing traffic numerous times and Lane may have been doing so in an unsafe manner.

The City filed motions to strike and dismiss count IV of plaintiff's complaint twice, both of which were granted. Plaintiff then moved to amend the complaint a third time, alleging that the City was negligent in failing to provide traffic control at peak hours, in failing to install a mechanical system to regulate traffic, in failing to provide plaintiff with proper protective equipment and training and failing to integrate plaintiff into the City's traffic control system. The City moved for summary judgment, which was granted. The trial court's order stated in relevant part:

"1. That the City of Harvey's motion for summary judgment is granted;

2. That the City of Harvey is dismissed from this action with prejudice . .. ."

We first address plaintiff's contention that the trial court erred in granting defendant's motion for summary judgment. The basis for this contention is that although the motion was before the court as a motion for summary judgment, plaintiff claims that the court analyzed and ruled on the motion as though it were a motion to dismiss. Plaintiff alleges that as a result of the trial court's improperly confusing a determination of factual sufficiency with a determination of legal sufficiency, he was prejudiced in that he responded to the motion for summary judgment by submitting deposition testimony in support of his position rather than seeking to amend his complaint.

While the trial court's order refers to a "dismissal with prejudice," the record supports the Conclusion that the court believed a legally sufficient cause of action had been stated and that it properly ruled on defendant's motion for summary judgment. Moreover, a reviewing court may affirm a correct judgment even if the trial court's reasoning is incorrect. (See, e.g., Long v. Soderquist (1984), 126 Ill. App. 3d 1059, 1062, 467 N.E.2d 1153; Miller v. Board of Education (1983), 119 Ill. App. 3d 88, 93, 456 N.E.2d 143.) Since the court reached the correct Conclusion here, we will affirm its decision irrespective of the reference to "dismissal with prejudice."

Plaintiff's reliance on Janes v. First Federal Savings & Loan Association (1974), 57 Ill. 2d 398, 312 N.E.2d 605, and Premier Electrical Construction Co. v. La Salle National Bank (1983), 115 Ill. App. 3d 638, 450 N.E.2d 1360, is misplaced. In Janes, the Illinois Supreme Court criticized the once common practice of combining a motion to dismiss with a motion for summary judgment and held that a trial court should entertain a motion for summary judgment only after a legally sufficient cause of action has been stated. (Janes, 57 Ill. 2d at 405-06.) In Premier, the trial court was criticized for granting a defendant's motion to strike and dismiss and then, at defendant's request, changing the ruling to one for summary judgment. (Premier, 115 Ill. App. 3d at ...


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