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.

Carmichael v. Union Pacific Railroad Co.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division

June 26, 2018

MARY TERRY CARMICHAEL, Plaintiff,
v.
UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY, PROFESSIONAL TRANSPORTATION, INC., d/b/a PTI, and ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants Professional Transportation, Inc., Counter-Plaintiff-Appellant; Mary Terry Carmichael and Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State; Counter-Defendants-Appellees

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, County Department Chancery Division No. 12 CH 38582Honorable Sophia H. Hall, Judge Presiding.

          PRESIDING JUSTICE MASON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justice Hyman concurred in the judgment and opinion. Justice Pucinski specially concurred, with opinion.

          OPINION

          MASON PRESIDING JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 Plaintiff Mary Carmichael was injured in a car accident while she was a passenger in a van owned and operated by defendant Professional Transportation, Inc. (PTI). Carmichael brought suit against PTI, alleging that PTI failed to obtain the required limits of uninsured (UM) and underinsured (UIM) coverage under section 8-101(c) of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Vehicle Code) (625 ILCS 5/8-101(c) (West 2010)). PTI argued as an affirmative defense that no private right of action could be implied under section 8-101(c). PTI also filed the counterclaim at issue in this appeal, challenging the constitutionality of section 8-101(c).

         ¶ 2 The trial court found that a private right of action could be implied under section 8-101(c) and dismissed PTI's counterclaim, finding that the section survived constitutional scrutiny. Following Carmichael's voluntary dismissal of her claim against PTI, PTI appealed the dismissal of its counterclaim. We find that we do not need to reach the constitutional issues raised by PTI because section 8-101(c) does not give rise to a private right of action. Therefore, Carmichael's complaint against PTI should have been dismissed. Accordingly, PTI's counterclaim is moot.

         ¶ 3 BACKGROUND

         ¶ 4 Carmichael, a Union Pacific Railroad Company (Union Pacific) employee, was injured when the van in which she was a passenger collided with a vehicle driven by Dwayne Bell. The six-passenger van was owned and operated by PTI and was used to transport Union Pacific employees between railroad jobsites pursuant to a service contract between PTI and Union Pacific. Although Carmichael originally sought recovery for her injuries in a lawsuit against PTI, Bell, and others, she dismissed PTI after it became apparent that the accident was caused solely by Bell's negligence.

         ¶ 5 Bell carried the minimum liability coverage required under the Vehicle Code at the time: $20, 000 per person and $40, 000 per occurrence. Id. § 7-203. Carmichael settled with Bell for the $20, 000 per-person policy limit. PTI was insured by defendant ACE American Insurance Company (ACE). The ACE policy provided for $5 million in liability limits, but provided the minimum UM/UIM coverage of $20, 000 per person and $40, 000 per occurrence. Consequently, no additional sums were available to Carmichael under the ACE policy.

         ¶ 6 In October 2012, Carmichael filed this action against PTI, ACE, and Union Pacific. As it relates to PTI, Carmichael's complaint sought a declaration that PTI should be liable for her damages arising from the accident in excess of $20, 000 up to $250, 000 based on her allegation that PTI failed to obtain the required limits of UM/UIM coverage under section 8-101(c) of the Vehicle Code. Id. § 8-101(c).[1] That section, amended in 2006, requires "contract carrier[s] transporting employees in the course of their employment" in a vehicle "designed to carry 15 or fewer passengers" to obtain UM/UIM coverage of not less than $250, 000 per person. Id. Carmichael alleged that PTI's six-person van, used to transport her in the course of her employment, fell into the foregoing category and that PTI's violation of this statutory provision gave rise to a private right of action, entitling her to recover from PTI the difference between her $20, 000 settlement with Bell and the $250, 000 UIM limit mandated by the statute.

         ¶ 7 PTI raised a number of defenses to Carmichael's complaint, including that no private right of action could be implied under section 8-101(c) and that the amendment to section 8-101(c) violated the special legislation, equal protection, due process, and commerce clauses of the state and federal constitutions. PTI also filed a counterclaim in which it challenged the constitutionality of the amendment on the same grounds and asserted that a related penal statute, section 8-116 of the Vehicle Code (id. § 8-116 (providing that failure to comply with, inter alia, the Vehicle Code's minimum insurance requirements constitutes a Class A misdemeanor)), was constitutionally infirm for the same reasons. PTI joined the State of Illinois as a counterclaim defendant.

         ¶ 8 The State moved to dismiss PTI's counterclaim, arguing both the insufficiency of PTI's allegations under section 2-615 and the merits of PTI's constitutional challenges under section 2-619 of the Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/2-615, 2-619 (West 2012)). The State pointed out that the proper procedure in the event of a challenge to a statute on constitutional grounds was to provide notice of the challenge and "afford the State, political subdivision, agency or officer, as the case may be, the opportunity, but not the obligation, to intervene in the cause or proceeding for the purpose of defending the law or regulation challenged." Ill. S.Ct. R. 19(c) (eff. Sept. 1, 2006). In addition to defending the amendment to section 8-101(c) against PTI's constitutional challenges, the State requested that the court defer addressing such issues until it resolved whether Carmichael was entitled to maintain a private right of action for violation of the statute's provisions.

         ¶ 9 PTI later filed a motion to dismiss Carmichael's complaint, in which it raised the issue of Carmichael's right to sue. Although the trial court initially directed the parties to brief PTI's motion, the court proceeded to first resolve the constitutional issues. On January 30, 2015, the court granted the State's motion to dismiss PTI's counterclaim, finding that the amendment survived constitutional scrutiny.[2] The court then addressed PTI's motion to dismiss Carmichael's complaint. On July 24, 2015, the court denied PTI's motion to dismiss, finding that Carmichael could pursue a claim for violation of section 801(c)'s mandated UM/UIM coverage.

         ¶ 10 After its motion to reconsider was denied and after Carmichael eventually voluntarily dismissed her remaining claims, PTI timely filed its notice of appeal.[3] Carmichael originally filed a separate notice of appeal from the dismissal of her claim against ACE, but she dismissed that appeal on August 9, 2017. Carmichael refiled her complaint ...


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.