Johnson v. Pace Suburban Bus, 020617 ILCA3, 3-16-0304

Docket Nº:3-16-0304
Opinion Judge:HOLDRIDGE PRESIDING JUSTICE
Party Name:BERNARD JOHNSON, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. PACE SUBURBAN BUS, PACE HERITAGE DIVISION of the SUBURBAN BUS DIVISION of the REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, a/k/a PACE HERITAGE, Defendant-Appellee.
Judge Panel:PRESIDING JUSTICE HOLDRIDGE delivered the judgment of the court. Justices O'Brien and Schmidt concurred in the judgment.
Case Date:February 06, 2017
Court:Court of Appeals of Illinois
 
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2017 IL App (3d) 160304-U

BERNARD JOHNSON, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

PACE SUBURBAN BUS, PACE HERITAGE DIVISION of the SUBURBAN BUS DIVISION of the REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, a/k/a PACE HERITAGE, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 3-16-0304

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

February 6, 2017

This order was filed under Supreme Court Rule 23 and may not be cited as precedent by any party except in the limited circumstances allowed under Rule 23(e)(1).

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois, Circuit No. 14-L-556 Honorable John C. Anderson, Judge, Presiding.

PRESIDING JUSTICE HOLDRIDGE delivered the judgment of the court. Justices O'Brien and Schmidt concurred in the judgment.

ORDER

HOLDRIDGE PRESIDING JUSTICE

¶ 1 Held: The trial court did not err when it granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant.

¶ 2 The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the defendant, Pace Heritage Division of the Suburban Bus Division of the Regional Transportation Authority, in a negligence action. The plaintiff, Bernard Johnson, appeals arguing a genuine issue of material fact exists as to the duty the defendant owed to the plaintiff.

¶ 3 FACTS

¶ 4 The plaintiff brought a two-count negligence action against his former employer, the defendant, to recover damages for personal injuries he sustained from an assault by a passenger on the bus he had been driving. The complaint asserted two alternative theories of negligence upon which the defendant should be held liable. The first theory alleged that the defendant, as a common-carrier, owed a duty of care to protect the defendant from criminal acts of third persons. The second theory alleged that the defendant, as his employer, owed a duty of care to protect the plaintiff from criminal acts of third persons. Both counts alleged that the defendant breached its duty in that it: (1) failed to adequately protect the plaintiff despite knowledge of the danger to drivers; (2) failed to provide additional personnel to safeguard its drivers; and (3) prohibited drivers from refusing admittance onto or ejecting from the bus individuals who they believed present a danger to the driver or bus passengers.

¶ 5 In the plaintiff's deposition, he testified that he was employed by the defendant as a bus driver. On February 14, 2014, the plaintiff picked up passengers at a bus stop located at the Louis Joliet Mall. Before leaving the bus stop, the plaintiff noticed two women sitting in the back of the bus having an altercation. The two individuals were loud and boisterous, but not a threat to the plaintiff or other passengers on the bus. It appeared to the plaintiff that one of the women wanted to fight the other woman.

¶ 6 According to the plaintiff, he had been told by the defendant's management personnel that if he noticed a problem on his route, he could either call the defendant's dispatch over the radio or pull the bus over and call the police. The plaintiff called the defendant's dispatch about the two women arguing in the back of the bus, but did not receive a response. The plaintiff then asked another passenger to call the police and ask the police to meet the bus at an upcoming bus stop located at the Will County courthouse.

¶ 7 When they arrived at the courthouse, the two women exited the bus and began fighting. As the remaining passengers exited the bus, the plaintiff remained in his seat. As he was seated, a passenger approached him and punched him in the face and broke his glasses. The plaintiff noted that the individual who punched him...

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