The plaintiff, Lorraine Patullo-Banks, was walking from the Park Ridge Train Station in February 2008. As she traveled on the sidewalk near the intersection of Touhy Ave and 3rd Street, she encountered an obstruction of snow and ice that had accumulated, resulting from the city snow plow that had cleared the street. The plaintiff chose to leave the sidewalk and enter the street, where she was struck by an oncoming vehicle. As a result, she endured residual physical problems, medical bills and lost wages. The auto insurance provider for the driver of the vehicle reached a settlement with Ms. Patullo-Banks. The plaintiff had filed a case against the City of Park Ridge contending that the accident was the result of their negligence.
Plaintiff claimed that:
- The city was negligent in plowing the snow and ice from the street area, which breached its duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition.
- The hazardous condition on the sidewalk caused the plaintiff to enter the street.
- The city failed to provide users of the train station with a safe & reasonable means of exiting from the train station.
- The defendant failed in its duty to warn the public that if exiting the station to the south of Touhy Avenue, there wouldn’t be a safe passage to the northern side.
Defendant claimed that:
- It would be unreasonable to expect the city to clear all of their sidewalks of wintry accumulation.
- There were alternate routes available, allowing her to use a crosswalk at a traffic signal.
- Immunity from liability under the Tort Immunity Act; setting forth a duty to exercise ordinary care to maintain the street in some reasonable safety condition only applied to intended and/or permitted users (of which the plaintiff was not).
The origin of the case involved an incident which occurred back in 2008. Originally, Judge Lynn Egan presided on the case, which was dismissed on two occasions. In both instances, the case was reversed on appeal and sent back to Judge Egan’s court. In May 2016 the matter was sent to a jury in the Cook County Circuit Court. The jury rendered a verdict in favor of the City of Park Ridge, essentially determining that the actions of the plaintiff resulted in the unfortunate accident that occurred that day.
The plaintiffs have the option of appealing the findings of the jury, and if history is any indication, this may not be over yet.
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