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03/26/96 BRIDGET GRABARCZYK v. CHICAGO AND SOUTH

APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, SECOND DIVISION


March 26, 1996

BRIDGET GRABARCZYK, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
CHICAGO AND SOUTH SHORE RAILROAD, ET AL., DEFENDANTS, NORTHERN INDIANA COMMUTER TRANSPORTATION DISTRICT, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, LAW DIVISION. THE HONORABLE JENNIFER DUNCAN-BRICE, JUDGE PRESIDING.

The Honorable Justice Scariano delivered the opinion of the court: Hartman P.j., and Burke, J. concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Scariano

The Honorable Justice SCARIANO delivered the opinion of the court:

On September 3, 1993, Bridget Grabarczyk ("plaintiff"), a non-resident of Illinois, filed suit in circuit court against Chicago and South Shore Railroad and Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District ("NICTD" or "defendant") *fn1, alleging that their negligence caused a train door to slam on her arm. Defendant filed a special and limited appearance and a motion to dismiss based on an Indiana statute which provides that state agencies cannot be sued outside the state of Indiana.

Plaintiff argued in her objection to the motion to dismiss that defendant is not a state agency under Indiana law. On May 10, 1994, the trial court granted defendant's motion to dismiss.

This appeal presents only a question of law: Whether the trial court erred in holding that defendant is an Indiana state agency that can be sued only in Indiana and which is therefore not subject to the jurisdiction of Illinois courts.

Although not binding on this court, the Northern District of Illinois and the Northern District of Indiana, in two well-reasoned decisions, have held that the defendant in this case is an agency of the state of Indiana. ( Gouge v. Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad (N.D. Ill. 1992) 1992 WL 25374; and Phillips v. Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (N.D. Ind. 1994) Case No. 2:92-CV-286.) We discern no reason in fact or in law in this case that would cause us to hold any differently. *fn2

We therefore hold that this case was properly dismissed under the immunity provision of the Indiana Tort Claims Act (Ind. Code ยง 34 (Burns Indiana Code Ann. 1994), the comity doctrine, and Schoeberlein v. Purdue University (1989), 129 Ill. 2d 372, 544 N.E.2d 283, 135 Ill. Dec. 787.

Accordingly, the judgment of the circuit court is affirmed.

Affirmed.

HARTMAN P.J., and BURKE, J. concur.


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