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Watson v. Howard

May 08, 2001

MICHAEL J. WATSON, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
IMOGENE HOWARD, INDIV. AND AS AGENT, SERVANT AND EMPLOYEE OF THE CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, AND CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, INDIV., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, 00 M1 302156 Honorable Michael C. Zissman, Judge Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice McBRIDE

Not Released For Publication

MICHAEL J. WATSON, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
IMOGENE HOWARD, INDIV. AND AS AGENT, SERVANT AND EMPLOYEE OF THE CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, AND CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, INDIV., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, 00 M1 302156 Honorable Michael C. Zissman, Judge Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice McBRIDE

Plaintiff Michael J. Watson appeals from an order of the circuit court of Cook County dismissing his personal injury complaint with prejudice for his failure to list or identify his attending physician in his notice of claim for personal injuries. Plaintiff contends that his notice of claim sufficiently complied with section 41 of the Metropolitan Transit Authority Act (Act) (70 ILCS 3605/41 (West 1998)) because it identified the hospital and physicians' practice groups which had treated him.

 On April 13, 2000, plaintiff filed a complaint against defendants alleging that on May 11, 1999, defendant Imogene Howard carelessly and negligently drove a Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus so that it collided with his own vehicle. He asserted that as a direct result, he suffered permanent injuries and disabilities requiring hospitalization and medical care, and prayed for judgment in the amount of $30,000. On June 21, 1999, prior to filing his complaint, plaintiff had served a written notice of claim upon the CTA's general counsel and upon the CTA's president. The notice listed the medical providers, attending physicians and treating hospitals as "St. Margaret Mercy Hospital," "Crown Emergency Physicians," "Hammond Radiologists" and their addresses. In the same paragraph, the notice also stated "various physicians, undetermined at this time."

On May 22, 2000, the CTA filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint with prejudice because plaintiff's notice of claims did not strictly comply with section 41 of the Act. Specifically, the CTA asserted that the notice did not state the name and address of the attending physician who treated plaintiff for his injuries.

Plaintiff filed a response asserting that the names and addresses which he had provided the CTA in his notice had sufficiently complied with section 41 of the Act. In support of his assertion, he cited Margolis v. Chicago Transit Authority, 69 Ill. App. 3d 1028, 1033, 388 N.E.2d 190 (1979), where the appellate court stated:

"Where some attempt to designate an element is apparent, the notice is deemed sufficient if the designation reasonably fulfills the requirements of the statute and does not mislead or prejudice the [CTA]."

Plaintiff contended that the CTA was sufficiently informed of the nature of his injuries and the names of his attending physicians by the notice.

On July 25, 2000, the trial court dismissed plaintiff's complaint with prejudice.

On appeal, plaintiff contends that, pursuant to Margolis, the names and addresses of the hospital and physicians groups that he provided in his notice complied with section 41 of the Act because they sufficiently advised the CTA of the sources of his treatment and the resources from which further information was available. In support of his argument, plaintiff also cites Yokley v. Chicago Transit Authority, 307 Ill. App. 3d 132, 717 N.E.2d 451 (1999), appeal denied, 185 Ill. 2d 670, 720 N.E.2d 1107 (1999), for the proposition that the purpose of section 41 was to "allow the [CTA] to make a timely investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding the plaintiff's claim." Plaintiff asserts that the CTA has not indicated that its investigation was somehow delayed, prejudiced, misdirected or hampered because of the information in his notice. He also asserts that none of the cases cited by the CTA in its motion to dismiss (Dimeo v. Chicago Transit Authority, 311 Ill. App. 3d 152, 724 N.E.2d 92 (1999); Segarra v. Chicago Transit Authority, 265 Ill. App. 3d 480, 637 N.E.2d 572 (1994), appeal denied, 157 Ill. 2d 522, 642 N.E.2d 1303 (1994); Sanders v. Chicago Transit Authority, 220 Ill. App. 3d 505, 581 N.E.2d 211 (1991); Patinkin v. Chicago Transit Authority, 214 Ill. App. 3d 973, 574 N.E.2d 743 (1991); Frowner v. Chicago Transit Authority, 25 Ill. App. 2d 312, 167 N.E.2d 26 (1960)) dealt with the specific issue at ...


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