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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 142112 Find in a Library
Journal: Illinois Bar Journal  Volume:81  Issue:4  Dated:(April 1993)  Pages:184-188
Author(s): G L Gifford
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 5
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Written from the perspective of a plaintiff's attorney, this analysis of the Illinois Supreme Court's ruling in Lee v. CTA concludes that the court departed only slightly from the traditional rule covering an Illinois landowner's duty toward trespassers.
Abstract: The case involved the death of an intoxicated immigrant with limited English who stepped off the public sidewalk and onto the track area of the passenger transit trains operated by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). He was electrocuted upon contact with the unguarded third rail at one of the six places at which the CTA tracks cross city streets. The wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the CTA was negligent in failing to remedy, protect, or guard the dangerous third rail. The plaintiff also alleged that the CTA failed to adequately warn of the presence or location of the electrified third rail. The jury decided that the CTA had breached its duty of care but that the conduct was not willful or wanton; thus they reduced the award by 50 percent to $1.5 million. The appellate court reversed this verdict, but the Illinois Supreme Court upheld it. However, the ruling was extremely narrow and will not create unlimited landowner liability, because any case based on it would have to pass the detailed step-by-step legal test contained in the majority opinion. Footnotes
Main Term(s): Fatalities; Legal liability
Index Term(s): Appellate court decisions; Courts; Illinois; Lawsuits; Negligence; State laws
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