Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Loretta C. Douglas, Judge Presiding.
Released for Publication August 5, 1997.
The Honorable Justice McNULTY delivered the opinion of the court. Rakowski and Tully, JJ., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mcnulty
JUSTICE McNULTY delivered the opinion of the court:
Plaintiff Michael J. Wheatley appeals from the trial court order dismissing his suit against defendant, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), on the basis that plaintiff did not serve the CTA with notice of his injuries within six months from the date of his injury or file suit within one year of the date he received the injuries as required by section 41 of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act. 70 ILCS 3605/41 (West 1994). Plaintiff claims on appeal that because his injuries occurred while he was doing construction work, his limitations period was governed by section 13-214 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code) which provides a four-year window for bringing claims arising out of construction accidents. 735 ILCS 5/13-214 (West 1994). We affirm.
Plaintiff filed suit against the CTA on October 16, 1995. Plaintiff alleged in his complaint that on March 15, 1994, while employed as a laborer by Blinderman Construction Company, he was performing work on the CTA Sheffield/Addison elevated rail station and was injured when a trench collapsed. Plaintiff alleged that the CTA was acting as a general contractor and that plaintiff was injured as a result of the CTA's violation of the Illinois Structural Work Act in failing to properly shore the trench to prevent its collapse. 740 ILCS 150/01 (West 1994).
On January 18, 1996, the CTA filed a motion to dismiss based on plaintiff's failure to serve a notice of personal injury within six months and file a lawsuit within one year of the alleged incident as required by section 41 of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act. 70 ILCS 3605/41 (West 1992). On March 13, 1996, plaintiff responded that because he sustained his injuries while engaged in construction work on a CTA project, and not as a passenger, his action was governed only by section 13-214 of the Code, which allows four years for the bringing of a suit. 735 ILCS 5/13-214 (West 1994). The trial court granted the CTA's motion to dismiss, finding that section 41 of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act was more specific than section 13-214 of the Code and should therefore control. The court noted, however, that this was a difficult decision since there was no controlling precedent and that the court's decision could have also gone the other way.
We must determine in this appeal whether the filing of a claim for injuries sustained while working on CTA property is governed by section 41 of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act or by section 13-214 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
Section 41 of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act provides:
"No civil action shall be commenced in any court against the Authority by any person for any injury to his person unless it is commenced within one year from the date that the injury was received or the cause of action accrued. Within six (6) months from the date that such an injury was received or such cause of action accrued, any person who is about to commence any civil action in any court against the Authority for damages on account of any injury to his person shall file in the office of the secretary of the Board and also in the office of the General Counsel 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 person 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." 70 ILCS 3605/41 (West 1994)
Section 13-214 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides:
"Construction-Design management and supervision. As used in this section 'person' means any individual, any business or legal entity, or any body politic.
(a) Actions based upon tort, contract or otherwise against any person for an act or omission of such person in the design, planning, supervision, observation or management of construction, or construction of an improvement to real property shall be commenced within 4 years from the time the person bringing an action, or his or her privity, knew or should reasonably have known of such act or omission." 735 ILCS 5/13-214 (West 1994).
There is no case law construing the relationship between section 41 of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act ...