In DeMambro v. City of Springfield, the plaintiff injured her ankle when she slipped in a pothole where her car was lawfully parked near the curb on a city street. The City argued that it was immune from liability under section 3-102 of the Illinois Tort Immunity Act, which provides: “Accept as otherwise provided in this article, a local public entity has the duty to exercise ordinary care to maintain its property in a reasonably safe condition for the use in the exercise of ordinary care of people whom the entity intended and permitted to use the property in a manner in which and at such times as it was reasonably foreseeable that it would be used.” 745 ILCS 10/3-102(a).
The trial court held that the city owed no duty of reasonable care to the plaintiff because she failed to provide evidence of a “physical manifestation of intent by the city….that it intended for Herndon street to be used by pedestrians.” In other words, the trial found that plaintiff was not an “intended” user of the property, as that term is used in section 3-102. The court noted that there was no evidence that the street had designated parking meters, parking stalls, or line spaces.
The Appellate Court reversed the trial court and concluded the plaintiff was an intended and permitted user of the city street where she was legally parked parallel to the curb. The Appellate Court indicated the trial court should not focus on a “physical manifestation” by the city that it intended the street to be used by pedestrians. Instead, the Appellate Court said that unless otherwise indicated, the area near the street curb is intended for parking and pedestrians such as plaintiff. Therefore, the city was not immune from liability under section 3-102.
To read the Appellate Court’s full opinion, click here.
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