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Mary Collins v. the Town of Normal

July 22, 2011

MARY COLLINS,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
THE TOWN OF NORMAL, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from Circuit Court of McLean County ) No. 09L148 Honorable G. Michael Prall, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Cook

2011 IL App (4th) 100694

JUSTICE COOK delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Knecht concurred in the judgment and opinion. Justice Steigmann specially concurred, with opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 On September 22, 2009, plaintiff, Mary Collins, filed a complaint against defendant, the Town of Normal, her former employer, alleging she was discharged in retaliation for the exercise of her rights under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (Workers' Compensation Act) (820 ILCS 305/1 through 30 (West 2008)). After several amended complaints, the Town filed a motion to dismiss under section 2--619 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2--619 (West 2008)), arguing that plaintiff's complaint was barred by the one-year statute of limitations set out in section 8--101(a) of the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (Tort Immunity Act) (745 ILCS 10/8--101(a) (West 2008)). On August 25, 2010, the trial court granted the Town's motion to dismiss. Plaintiff appeals, arguing that section 2--101(c) of the Tort Immunity Act (745 ILCS 10/2--101(c) (West 2008)) bars application of section 8--101(a) in this case. Section 13--205 of the Code of Civil Procedure imposes a five-year limitation period on "all civil actions not otherwise provided for." 735 ILCS 5/13--205 (West 2008). The Town recognizes that section 13--205 applies here if section 8--101 does not apply. We reverse and remand.

¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 3 Plaintiff alleges that on or about May 30, 2007, she sustained injuries in an accident related to her employment as a crime-scene technician/property manager. Plaintiff originally reported her work injuries to her supervisor on May 30 but was told not to fill out an incident report. On June 12, plaintiff requested her work partner mark her as "out sick." On June 14, plaintiff reported her work injuries to the Town's human resource department and was instructed to make a doctor's appointment. On June 27, plaintiff was verbally counseled, pursuant to department regulations, for the "[u]se of sick leave procedure, fictitious illness or injury reports."

¶ 4 As a result of her injuries, plaintiff received benefits under the Workers' Compensation Act. Plaintiff continued to work with weight restrictions. However, on December 14, she was informed her position would not be renewed, effective April 1.

¶ 5 II. ANALYSIS

¶ 6 A. Standard of Review

¶ 7 A trial court's dismissal of a complaint under section 2--619(a)(5) of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2--619(a)(5) (West 2008)) for failure to file a claim within the applicable statute of limitations is reviewed de novo. Raintree Homes, Inc. v. Village of Long Grove, 209 Ill. 2d 248, 254, 807 N.E.2d 439, 443 (2004).

¶ 8 B. Applicability of the Tort Immunity Act

ΒΆ 9 Section 8--101 contains broad language, but section 2--101 contains broad language ...


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