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11/22/89 Theresa B. Murphy, v. Chicago Transit Authority

November 22, 1989

THERESA B. MURPHY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION

548 N.E.2d 403, 191 Ill. App. 3d 918, 139 Ill. Dec. 18 1989.IL.1811

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

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE LINN delivered the opinion of the court. JIGANTI, P.J., and McMORROW, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LINN

Plaintiff, Theresa B. Murphy, brought an action against the Chicago Transit Authority to recover damages for injuries she sustained in an accident with a CTA bus. Defendant successfully moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that plaintiff had failed to give the CTA proper notice of the claim within six months of the incident and also that she had failed to file the action within one year, as required by section 41 of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 111 2/3, par. 341). On appeal Murphy contends that the trial court erred in its interpretation of section 41 and that the court further erred in not applying principles of estoppel to the CTA's attempt to defeat the suit on timeliness grounds.

We affirm.

Background

On May 12, 1986, Murphy was riding a bicycle when she was injured in an accident with a CTA bus. Her counsel mailed a letter, first class, to the CTA claims manager at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, following directions allegedly given to plaintiff's attorney over the telephone. The CTA denied receiving the letter. However, Murphy's attorney and physician each sent written documents in support of her claim to the CTA, which the CTA acknowledged receiving. In papers filed in the trial court, Murphy's attorney described several telephone calls he had with a claims manager. The CTA only admits to conversations taking place in February and March 1987, after the expiration of the six-month period for filing notice of intent to sue.

On June 4, 1987, Murphy filed a negligence lawsuit against the CTA. In lieu of answering, the CTA filed a motion to dismiss under section 2-619 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 110, par. 2-619).

At the initial hearing on the CTA's motion, Judge Hoffman ruled that Murphy's notice failed to comply with the requirements of section 41, which provides that within six months of the accrual of the cause of action, any person who is planning to sue the CTA "shall file in the office of the secretary of the Board and also in the office of the General Attorney for the Authority either by himself, his agent, or attorney, a statement, in writing, signed by himself, his agent, or attorney, giving the name of the persons to whom the cause of action has accrued, the name and residence of the person injured, the date and about the hour of the accident, the place or location where the accident occurred and the name and address of the attending physician, if any. If the notice provided for by this section is not filed as provided, any such civil action commenced against the Authority shall be dismissed and the person to whom any such cause of action accrued for any personal injury shall be forever barred from further suing." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 111 2/3, par. 341.

Judge Hoffman did not rule on the issue of estoppel, but instead allowed the parties to file supplemental briefs on the question of whether the CTA was estopped from raising the statute of limitations.

Judge Quinn heard argument on the estoppel issues on June 2, 1988, and held in favor of the CTA. Accordingly, he dismissed ...


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