Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

City of Chicago v. Latronica Asphalt and Grading

February 17, 2004

[5] THE CITY OF CHICAGO, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
LATRONICA ASPHALT AND GRADING, INC., AN ILLINOIS CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



[6] Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County 01 CH 14595 Hon. Gay-Lloyd Lott, Judge Presiding.

[7] The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice McBRIDE

[8]  Plaintiff-appellant, City of Chicago (City), filed a complaint against defendant-appellee, Latronica Asphalt & Grading, Inc. (Latronica), which sought damages in connection with the City's cleanup of illegal waste disposed of on a lot in the City of Chicago (the Site). Latronica filed a motion to dismiss which sought to strike the complaint on the ground that the alleged dumping by Latronica occurred more than five years prior to the filing of the complaint and the claim was therefore barred by the statute of limitations. The trial court subsequently denied the City's motion to reconider. The trial court granted Latronica's motion. The City appeals from those rulings.

[9]  We state the following background facts. On September 4, 2001, the City filed a four-count complaint against Latronica which alleged unpermitted disposal of waste (count I), statutory public nuisance (count II), common law public nuisance (count III), and recovery of costs (count IV). Specifically, the complaint alleged that the City obtained ownership of the Site as of December 30, 1999, and that prior to that time, the Site was owned by a trust and was operated by several individuals including John Christopher, a federal government informant in "Operation Silver Shovel," a public corruption investigation conducted by the United States Attorney. During the period of Christopher's ownership and control, the Site was operated by Marlboro, Inc., a company owned by Christopher. At no time was a permit ever issued by the City making the Site a permitted dump site.

[10]   According to "load tickets" and "invoices" produced by Marlboro, the complaint alleged, Latronica disposed of construction debris and other waste on the Site "(including asphalt, concrete, dirt, and mixed materials) from Latronica job sites during the period of at least August 4, 1992, through at least September 2, 1993." Over this period, the City alleged that Latronica disposed of at least 2,498 cubic yards of construction debris and other waste at the Site. It further claimed that Latronica's disposal of waste on the Site contributed to a massive buildup of illegal waste there.

[11]   The complaint alleged that the City had begun cleanup at the Site which would require the removal of approximately 663,500 cubic yards of waste at the estimated total cost of nearly $24 million. The City claimed that the illegal waste disposed of at the Site constituted a common law and statutory public nuisance, and a threat to the "public health, safety, welfare, and the environment." In count I, the complaint specifically alleged that "mounds of waste [from the Site] caused dust, dirt, and other materials to become airborne and to spread to the nearby community." The City claimed that the illegal dumping by Latronica violated section 11-4-1500 of the Chicago Municipal Code. Chicago Municipal Code § 11-4-1500 (amended January 12, 1995). It further claimed that it was entitled to recover the cleanup costs under the cost recovery provision of the same code. In sum, the City sought total damages in the amount of $106,889 which represented Latronica's portion of the City's cleanup expenditures.

[12]   On January 18, 2002, Latronica filed an amended motion to dismiss under sections 2-615 and 2-619 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure. 735 ILCS 5/2-615, 2-619 (West 2000). Latronica's basis for the section 2-619 motion was that the alleged dumping occurred between August 4, 1992, through November 2, 1993, dates that were more than five years prior to the filing of the City's complaint on September 4, 2001, and the City's lawsuit was therefore barred by the statute of limitations.

[13]   On March 28, 2002, the trial court granted Latronica's amended motion to dismiss based on the five-year limitations period set forth in section 13-205 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure. 735 ILCS 5/ 13-205 (West 2000). The court found that section 13-205 "[did] not exclude" the City and that the claims were time barred because the dumping ceased in 1993 and the complaint was not filed until 2001. Although, as noted above, Latronica also filed a motion to dismiss under section 2-615 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, the trial court did not address any of the arguments raised in that motion. 735 ILCS 5/2-615 (West 2000).

[14]   A motion to dismiss pursuant to section 2-619 is a method of disposing of issues of law and easily proved issues of fact at the outset of the case. Fox Associates, Inc. v. Robert Half International, Inc., 334 Ill. App. 3d 90, 93, 777 N.E.2d 603 (2002). Well-pled facts in the complaint are admitted; however, legal conclusions and facts unsupported by specific allegations are not. Fox Associates, 334 Ill. App. 3d at 93. We review a trial court's granting of a section 2-619 motion to dismiss de novo. Fox Associates, 334 Ill. App. 3d at 93.

[15]   The five-year statute of limitations in section 13-205 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure provides the following, in relevant part:

[16]  
"Five year limitation. *** [A]ctions on unwritten contracts, expressed or implied, or on awards of arbitration, or to recover damages for an injury done to property, real or personal, or to recover the possession of personal property or damages for the detention or conversion thereto, and all civil actions not otherwise provided for, shall be commenced within 5 years next after the cause of action accrued." 735 ILCS 5/13-205 (West 2000).

[17]   Section 7-28-440(a) of the Chicago Municipal Code states, in relevant part:

[18]  
"No person shall dump or deposit or cause to be dumped or deposited on any lot or parcel of real estate within the city any garbage, ashes, refuse, trash, miscellaneous waste, manure or other substance that may contain disease germs or may be scattered by the wind, or may decompose, or become filthy, noxious or unhealthful, except at a sanitary landfill site, liquid waste handling facility or transfer station for which a permit has been properly issued pursuant to the provisions of chapter 11-4 of this code. Such dumping without a permit is hereby declared to be a nuisance. Any person violating this provision of this chapter will be fined not less than $1,500.00 and not more than $2,500.00 *** In addition to other penalties provided in this section, any person who violates this section shall be liable to the city for three times the amount of all costs and expenses incurred by the city in abating a nuisance." Chicago Municipal Code §7-28-440(a)(amended July 29, 2003).

[19]   Section 8-28-020 of the Chicago Municipal Code states, in relevant part:

[20]  
"Any person who causes the city or its agents to incur costs in order to provide necessary services as the result of such person's violation of any federal, state or local law, or such person's failure to correct conditions which violate any federal, state or local law when such person was under a legal duty to do so, shall be liable to the city for those costs. This liability shall be collectible in the same manner as any other personal liability." Chicago Municipal Code §8-28-020 (amended May 17, 2000).

[21]   Section 11-4-1500 of the Chicago Municipal Code states, in relevant part:

[22]  
"No solid or liquid waste shall be treated or disposed of within the city of Chicago except in accordance with this chapter. ***
[23]  
(e) A transfer station may accept waste for sorting and/or consolidation and for further transfer to a waste disposal, treatment, or handling facility.
[24]  
No persons shall (1) cause or allow the open dumping of any waste, (2) abandon or dispose of any waste upon public property, except in a sanitary landfill approved by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Commissioner, (3) dispose, treat, abandon or transport any waste, except at a site or facility which meets the requirements of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and which is permitted pursuant to this chapter.
[25]  
Disposal or treatment of any waste without a permit is hereby declared to be a nuisance." Chicago Municipal Code ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.