DuPage Judge Rules that Village is Immune From Liability for Failure to Inspect and Repair Sidewalk Defect

October 17, 2017

Judge Brian R. McKillip in DuPage County granted summary judgment in favor of the Village of Itasca in Gentile v. Village of Itasca, Case No. 2016 L 157 (DuPage Co. Cir. Ct. August 11, 2017). Plaintiff, an 80-year old woman, walked her dog down a sidewalk near her home in Itasca in April 2015. She tripped over a raise in the sidewalk that was less than two inches high. She fell, and suffered two broken arms. No one had informed the Village of this deviation in the sidewalk, nor had that year’s inspection of the Village’s sidewalk taken place yet. Plaintiff filed suit for negligence against the Village. The Village raised the defenses that the deviation was too small to impose liability (a de minimis defect), that the Village lacked actual or constructive notice under Section 3-102 of the Illinois Local Governmental and Local Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act (“the Act”), that the repair of the sidewalk was a discretionary function of the Village, and that the Village was therefore immune from liability under Section 2-201 of the Act. Judge McKillip found that, while he could not decide whether the defect was de minimis as a matter of law, he could find that the undisputed evidence showed that the Village had no actual or constructive notice of the defect, and that the Village’s sidewalk inspection program and decisions with respect to repairing sidewalks were entitled to discretionary immunity. The Village was therefore immune under Sections 3-102 and 2-201 of the Act, respectively. The Village was represented by Chuck Hervas and Tony Fioretti.

McKillip Opinion

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