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Perez v. The Chicago Park District

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division

September 13, 2016

KRISTINA PEREZ, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
THE CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT, Defendant-Appellee.

          Rehearing denied October 7, 2016

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 14-L-5302; the Hon. Eileen M. Brewer, Judge, presiding.

         Affirmed.

          Milo W. Lundblad and Anthony B. Gordon, both of Brustin & Lundblad, Ltd., of Chicago, for appellant.

          George P. Smyrniotis and Heather L. Keil, both of Chicago Park District, for appellee.

          PRESIDING JUSTICE HYMAN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Pierce and Neville concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          HYMAN JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 Plaintiff Kristina Perez sued the Chicago Park District after she was severely and permanently injured while at Chicago's West Lawn Park when two men illegally set off fireworks that exploded next to her. The trial court granted the Park District's motion to dismiss under the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (Act) (745 ILCS 10/1-101 et seq. (West 2014)) and denied Perez's oral request to file a fourth amended complaint.

         ¶ 2 We affirm. Perez failed to plead a cause of action for willful and wanton conduct because (i) the fireworks were not a "condition" of the Park District's property under section 3-106 of the Act, (ii) the Park District never "undertook to supervise" the fireworks under section 3-108(a), (iii) the Park District had no common-law duty to supervise the two men under section 3-108(b), and (iv) the hazardous fireworks display was not "conducted" by the Park District under section 3-109. And an amended complaint could not cure these defects.

         ¶ 3 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 4 On July 4, 2013, Kristina Perez went to West Lawn Park to celebrate Independence Day. The Park District prohibits the use of fireworks on public property without a permit, but that did not stop Thomas Lagowski and Krzysztoff Gros from illegally igniting fireworks, one of which exploded next to Perez. She suffered injuries, causing amputation of her right foot and part of her lower leg.

         ¶ 5 Perez sued the Park District, Lagowski, Gros, and the City of Chicago. The Park District moved to dismiss under section 2-619 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-619 (West 2014)), arguing that the Act barred any claim against it. Before the motion was fully briefed, Perez amended her complaint twice more. Perez's third amended complaint, as to the Park District, pled negligence (count I), willful and wanton conduct (count II), willful and wanton conduct as owner-occupier (count III), and strict liability for hazardous activity (count IV). (After filing her third amended complaint, Perez voluntarily dismissed the City of Chicago and settled with Lagowski and Gros.) The Park District did not file a new motion to dismiss but relied on its original motion. The trial court dismissed the third amended complaint with prejudice. Perez then made an oral motion for leave to file a fourth amended complaint, which the trial court denied.

         ¶ 6 ANALYSIS

         ¶ 7 As an initial matter, Illinois Supreme Court Rule 342(a) requires an appellant's brief include "as an appendix, *** a complete table of contents, with page references, of the record on appeal." Ill. S.Ct. R. 342(a) (eff. Jan. 1, 2005). The table of contents to Perez's brief does not comply with Rule 342(a). Perez's appellant brief does not contain a table of contents to the record on appeal but instead ...


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