Appeal from the Circuit Court of Macoupin County. No. 94L31. Honorable Thomas P. Carmody, Judge Presiding.
Released for Publication October 3, 1996. As Corrected January 2, 1997.
Honorable Rita B. Garman, J., Honorable John T. McCullough, J. - Concur, Honorable Robert J. Steigmann, J. - Dissent. Justice Garman delivered the opinion of the court.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garman
JUSTICE GARMAN delivered the opinion of the court:
This is a personal injury action filed against a local public entity by a plaintiff whose cause of action accrued when she was a minor. On appeal, we are asked to determine which of two applicable but conflicting statutes of limitation, contained in section 13-211 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/13-211 (West 1994)) and section 8-101 of the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (Tort Immunity Act) (745 ILCS 10/8-101 (West 1994)), governs the action. We conclude the two-year limitation period in section 13-211 of the Code controls and affirm.
Plaintiff Jennifer Bertolis alleges she was injured at Gillespie High School, Gillespie, Illinois, on October 31, 1989. At that time, plaintiff was 15 years of age and a student at Gillespie High School. Plaintiff turned 18 on June 10, 1992. On June 9, 1994, plaintiff filed her complaint in the circuit court's of Macoupin County, Illinois, against defendants Community Unit School District No. 7, and the Gillespie, Illinois, Board of Education.
On July 20, 1994, defendants filed a motion to dismiss, citing as one ground for dismissal section 8-101 of the Tort Immunity Act, which establishes a one-year limitation period for actions commenced against local public entities or their employees. 745 ILCS 10/8-101 (West 1994).
On August 11, 1995, the circuit court entered an order denying defendants' motion to dismiss and holding the statute of limitations in the Tort Immunity Act was not applicable to plaintiff. The circuit court certified the above issue for appeal and this court granted defendants' application for leave to appeal pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 308. 155 Ill. 2d R. 308.
The issue presented is whether the statute of limitations governing this action is the one-year limitation period set forth in the Tort Immunity Act (745 ILCS 10/8-101 (West 1994)), or the two-year limitation period found in section 13-211 of the Code (735 ILCS 5/13-211 (West 1994)).
Section 13-211 of the Code provides as follows:
"If the person entitled to bring an action, specified in Sections 13-201 through 13-210 of this Act, at the time the cause of action accrued, is under the age of 18 years, or is under a legal disability, then he or she may bring the action within 2 years after the person attains the age of 18 years, or the disability is removed." 735 ILCS 5/13-211 (West 1994).
Section 13-202 of the Code, which is incorporated by reference into section 13-211, sets forth: "Actions for damages for an injury to the person *** shall be commenced within 2 years next after the cause of action accrued ***." 735 ILCS 5/13-202 (West 1994). Plaintiff's lawsuit is an action for damages resulting from personal injury and she was under the age of 18 when her cause of action accrued; thus, the two-year limitation period of section 13-211 is applicable to this action.
However, because defendants in this case are local public entities, the provisions of the Tort Immunity Act are also invoked. Section 8-101 of the Tort Immunity Act provides:
"No civil action may be commenced in any court against a local entity or any of its employees for any injury unless it is commenced within one year from the date that the injury was received or the ...