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02/06/95 MARK JEFFERSON v. CITY CHICAGO

February 6, 1995

MARK JEFFERSON, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE STUART A. NUDELMAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.

Released for Publication March 21, 1995.

The Honorable Justice Wolfson delivered the opinion of the court: Campbell, P.j. and Buckley, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wolfson

JUSTICE WOLFSON delivered the opinion of the court:

NATURE OF THE CASE

On May 7, 1987, the City of Chicago (City) was painting lines for pedestrian crosswalks at the southeast corner of the Halsted and Lake intersection. The east half of Halsted Street was closed. The west half of Halsted Street was used for one lane of northbound traffic and one lane of southbound traffic. Some time that day the plaintiff's right arm was partially severed when the southbound Halsted Street bus he was riding in brushed a steel pillar.

The plaintiff's lawsuit against the City centered on the way in which the northbound traffic was diverted by the placement of traffic-regulating orange colored cones.

The trial court granted the City's motion for summary judgment on two grounds: (1) The bus driver's conduct was an independent intervening act, breaking any causal connection between the City's conduct and the injury; and (2) The City's conduct was immunized by section 2-201 of the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (Tort Immunity Act). See 745 ILCS 10/2-201 (West 1992).

Appellate review of an entry of summary judgment is de novo.( In re Estate of Hoover (1993), 155 Ill. 2d 402, 615 N.E.2d 736, 185 Ill. Dec. 866.) That means we must independently examine the evidence presented for and against the motion to determine whether the movant established the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. ( Arra v. First State Bank & Trust Co. (1993), 250 Ill. App. 3d 403, 621 N.E.2d 128, 190 Ill. Dec. 259.) We affirm in part and in part we reverse and remand.

THE EVIDENCE

The driver of the CTA bus was inching his way through the intersection at about one mile an hour. The driver, Clarence Lampkin, pulled to his right when he saw a northbound truck coming at him. Lampkin said about the truck: "He pulled into the lane that was open for me and -- causing me to slow up and stop, at which time I proceeded to get out of his way because I thought he was going to hit the bus the way he pulled over there. I think he was trying to make the light."

And then:

"Q. Did you steer your bus to the right to let the truck go by, or did the truck force your bus to the right?

A. I had to move to the right to avoid being struck by the truck."

That, he added, was the only way the truck could have cleared the bus.

The truck, said Lampkin in his deposition, squeezed between the bus and the line of cones in the middle of Halsted Street. When the bus stopped, its front end was even with the middle of a dumpster immediately in front of the bus. A vertical steel pillar that supports elevated train tracks was two or three feet in front of ...


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