BRITTANY GALLARNEAU, a Minor, by Her Father and Next Friend, Hugh Gallarneau, Plaintiff-Appellant,
CALVARY CHAPEL OF LAKE VILLA, INC., Defendant-Appellee.
In an action for the injuries suffered by the minor plaintiff while attending an end-of-the year party for a kids program at defendant church, the trial court erred in entering summary judgment for defendant on the ground that the program was a “school” under the School Code and was immune from liability for the negligence alleged, since the church was not related to any educational system, its program was called a club, not a school, and even though religious instruction was provided through the club, the voluntary instructional ministry and social setting did not fall within the scope of the School Code and its grant of immunity.
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County, No. 10-L-1183; the Hon. Christopher C. Starck, Judge, presiding.
Nicholas A. Riewer, of Riewer & Collins, LLC, of Lake Forest, for appellant.
William B. Weiler and Kristen A. Cemate, both of Langhenry, Gillen, Lundquist & Johnson, LLC, of Chicago, for appellee.
JUSTICE McLAREN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Burke and Justice Hutchinson concurred in the judgment and opinion.
¶ 1 Plaintiff, Brittany Gallarneau, by her father and next friend, Hugh Gallarneau, appeals from the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant, Calvary Chapel of Lake Villa, Inc. (Calvary). We reverse and remand.
¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND
¶ 3 On May 20, 2009, Brittany was attending the Calvary Kids Club (CKC), a program sponsored by Calvary that provided "teachings and activities for children" on Wednesday evenings. May 20 was the last meeting before summer, and CKC held an end-of-the-year party. The activities included a relay race, outside on church property, in which the contestants were to run backwards. While running in that race, Brittany fell backwards and broke both of her arms.
¶ 4 Brittany filed a one-count complaint, seeking damages in excess of $50, 000, alleging that Calvary breached its duty "to provide and supervise the minor plaintiff in said activities in a reasonably safe and secure setting." Calvary eventually filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that it was immune to suits alleging ordinary negligence, pursuant to section 24-24 of the School Code (Code) (105 ILCS 5/24-24 (West 2008)). After briefing and oral argument, the trial court found that CKC was a school under section 24-24 of the Code and entered summary judgment in favor of Calvary. This timely appeal followed.
¶ 5 II. ANALYSIS
¶ 6 Brittany contends that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Calvary. Summary judgment is proper when the pleadings, admissions, depositions, and affidavits on file, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, demonstrate that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. G.I.S. Venture v. Novak, 388 Ill.App.3d 184, 187 (2009). The applicability and interpretation of legislation present questions of law that are amenable to resolution through summary ...