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.

Peters v. Herrin Cmty. Unit Sch. Dist. No. 4

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fifth District

February 27, 2015

GENE PETERS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
HERRIN COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 4 and THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF HERRIN COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 4, Defendants-Appellees

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Williamson County. No. 07-L-105. Honorable Brad K. Bleyer, Judge, presiding.

SYLLABUS

On appeal from the trial court's dismissal of plaintiff's action for the injuries he suffered when he ran into a bumper that was not visible during a high school summer football camp being held at defendants' football facility and he alleged defendants negligently maintained the grounds by failing to cut and mow the weeds where the bumper was located, the appellate court held that it did not have jurisdiction to hear plaintiff's negligence count after granting defendants' motions for summary judgment, especially when plaintiff's notice of appeal was filed outside the time allowed under Supreme Court Rule 303, and with regard to plaintiff's willful and wanton count, the trial court's entry of summary judgment was reversed and the cause was remanded to allow the trial court to determine whether plaintiff's coaches knew of the dangerous condition the bumper presented and whether their actions constituted willful and wanton conduct.

For Appellant: John Womick, Chad Orso, Womick Law Firm, Chtd., Herrin, IL.

For Appellees: John J. Kurowski, Candice C. Kusmer, Kurowski Shultz, LLC, Swansea, IL.

JUSTICE GOLDENHERSH delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Chapman and Stewart concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

GOLDENHERSH, JUSTICE.

Page 914

[¶1] This appeal concerns a personal injury case in which plaintiff, Gene Peters, alleges he was injured by running into a bumper that was not visible during a high school summer football camp held on the football field of defendants, Herrin Community Unit School District No. 4 and the Board of Education of Herrin Community School District No. 4. After sustaining his injuries, plaintiff filed a complaint alleging defendants negligently maintained its football facility by failing to cut and mow the

Page 915

weeds where the bumper was located, which the trial court dismissed with prejudice.

[¶2] Plaintiff later filed a two-count third amended complaint alleging the negligence count described above and a willful and wanton count. The willful and wanton count alleges plaintiff was injured as a direct and proximate result of defendants' willful and wanton conduct, that being the grass was not properly cut, the bumper was not visible, and the coaches of the football team instructed plaintiff to take a particular route when running from the locker room to the football field causing plaintiff to run into the bumper.

[¶3] Defendants moved to dismiss the first count of plaintiff's third amended complaint alleging negligence, contending the negligence count was identical to the count alleged in plaintiff's second amended complaint on which the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants. Defendants also moved for summary judgment as to the second count of plaintiff's third amended complaint alleging willful and wanton conduct, asserting its conduct did not rise to the level of willful and wanton conduct.

[¶4] The trial court granted defendants' motion to dismiss on the first negligence count holding there was no genuine issue of material fact and finding the immunity provision pursuant to section 3-106 of the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (Act) (745 ILCS 10/3-106 (West 2012)) applied to the facts of the case. The trial court also granted defendants' motion for summary judgment as to plaintiff's second count alleging willful and wanton conduct after finding defendants' conduct failed to rise to the level of willful and wanton conduct and there was no genuine issue of material fact.

[¶5] Plaintiff now appeals the orders of summary judgment entered in favor of defendants on plaintiff's negligence count and willful and wanton count. Plaintiff contends the trial court erred by granting defendants' motions for summary judgment, alleging the high school football camp was not immune from liability because the football facility is intended for educational rather than recreational purposes. Plaintiff also alleges defendants' failure to properly maintain the football facility amounted to willful and wanton conduct, and there existed questions of material facts concerning whether plaintiff was instructed by coaches to run in a certain direction to the football field from the locker room.

[¶6] Defendants contend this court does not have jurisdiction to hear plaintiff's count alleging negligence, asserting plaintiff did not file his notice of appeal within the time period required by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 303 (eff. May 30, 2008). In the alternative, defendants assert the trial court properly granted defendants' motion for summary judgment after finding no genuine issue of material fact and holding the immunity provision of section 3-106 applied to the facts of the case. Regarding plaintiff's willful and wanton count, defendants assert the trial court properly granted summary judgment in favor of defendants after finding no evidence of willful and wanton conduct and no genuine issue of material fact.

[¶7] We agree with defendants that this court does not have jurisdiction to hear plaintiff's negligence count. Plaintiff filed his notice of appeal outside the time period required by Supreme Court Rule 303. Accordingly, this court does not have jurisdiction.

[¶8] Regarding defendants' motion for summary judgment granted by the trial court concerning the willful and wanton

Page 916

count, we disagree with the trial court's finding of no genuine issue of material fact. There are genuine issues of material fact concerning the route the football players took from the locker room to the football field and whether coaches employed by defendants instructed the players to take a particular route. The route the players took from the locker room to the football field, and whether the players were instructed by their coaches to take that route, is important for determining whether immunity pursuant to section 3-106 is applicable and should be considered by the trial court on remand. For the following reasons, we reverse and remand with directions.

[¶9] BACKGROUND

[¶10] On July 26, 2006, plaintiff, Gene Peters, participated in a summer football camp sponsored by defendants, Herrin Community Unit School District No. 4 and the Board of Education of Herrin Community Unit School District No. 4. Plaintiff was an incoming sophomore at Herrin High School. On said date, plaintiff alleges that while running from the locker room to the practice football field pursuant to the coach's instruction, he tripped on a bumper in the shot-put pit area of the field causing him to fall and sustain injuries. Plaintiff alleges said bumper was located on the route the players were instructed to take by the coaches. Plaintiff underwent back surgeries and treatment for a pinched nerve and pulled muscles from the injuries he sustained.

[¶11] Plaintiff's original complaint alleging a single count of negligence against defendants was filed on July 24, 2007. This appeal concerns plaintiff's two-count third amended complaint filed on November 21, 2012, alleging a single count of negligence and a single count of willful and wanton conduct.

[¶12] In the negligence count of plaintiff's third amended complaint, plaintiff alleges he was unable to see the bumper because defendants negligently maintained the football facility by failing to mow the grass and cut the weeds. In the willful and wanton count, plaintiff alleges defendants' failure to mow the grass was conduct performed " with reckless disregard for the safety of the plaintiff."

[¶13] Relative to this appeal, the trial court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's second amended complaint alleging a single count of negligence on May 23, 2012. The trial court found no genuine issue of material fact and held the immunity provision pursuant to the Act ...


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.