IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF
COUNTY DEPARTMENT, LAW DIVISION
THERESE A. CONNORS, )
v. ) No.: 02 L-012171
SAUK TRAILS, INC. and ROBERT COOK, ) TRANSFERRED TO M-1
MOTION OF SAUK TRAILS, INC. AND ROBERT COOK FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
NOW COME the Defendants, SAUK TRAILS, INC. and ROBERT COOK, by and through their attorney, LAW OFFICES OF LOWELL D. SNORF, III, and move this Honorable Court pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-1005 for summary judgment on Count I and Count II of Plaintiff’s Complaint at Law:
BACKGROUND AND PROCEEDINGS TO DATE
As a result of THERESE CONNORS’
3. At the time and place the plaintiff, THERESE A. CONNORS, was an employee of Fancy Free Holidays Company, acting as a tour guide on said motorbus for various passengers.
4. At the time and place, while the plaintiff was standing in the front of the bus with her back to the front of the bus, the bus stopped or decelerated suddenly causing the plaintiff to be thrown into the front of the bus and down the stair well.
5. At the time and place, the defendants, SAUK TRAILS INC. & ROBERT COOK, and both of them, owed a duty of ordinary care not to injure the person of others, including plaintiff. (Emphasis added.)
ROBERT COOK and SAUK TRAILS, INC. answered the complaint and asserted affirmative defenses (Exhibit “B,” Answer to Complaint at Law with Affirmative Defenses).
STATEMENT OF FACTS
This was a private charter, on a
tour to and from
She did not know if she was holding onto anything in her left hand (Exhibit “C,” p. 64). Right when the bus stopped, she did not recall holding onto any part of the bus (Exhibit “C,” p. 64). She had no knowledge that ROBERT COOK knew he would have to make a sudden stop (Exhibit “C,” p. 65). She did not know about traffic conditions because she was standing up talking to passengers (Exhibit “C,” p. 65). She had no idea about ROBERT COOK’S speed (Exhibit “C,”p. 65). She did not know why ROBERT COOK stopped (Exhibit “C,” p. 65-66). When ROBERT COOK stopped, she flew backwards. ROBERT COOK did not come into contact with any other vehicles (Exhibit “C,” p. 70).
Bus driver, ROBERT COOK, provided
his deposition. On
Without notice, ROBERT COOK saw a red car come from his right and move into his lane (Exhibit “D,” p. 79, 118). ROBERT COOK saw the red car’s brake lights come on, and that is when ROBERT COOK applied his brakes (Exhibit “D,” p. 79, 80-82). THERESE CONNORS fell when he was in the process of stopping (Exhibit “D,” p.83). There was no construction on the road; at the time of the stop, he was looking straightforward, and nothing obstructed his sight (Exhibit “D,” p. 106-107). He does not wear glasses and has never worn glasses (Exhibit “D,” p. 112).
Traffic was backed up (Exhibit “D,” p. 70). He applied his coach bus brakes because a car from the righthand lane, which is I-80, came over and stopped in front of him (Exhibit “D,” p. 71). The car that moved in front of him was a red car (Exhibit “D,” p. 72). The first time he saw it was when it pulled out right in front of him and stopped (Exhibit “D,” p. 72). He had no indication the red car was going to make it into his lane of traffic (Exhibit “D,” p. 76). The car came into his lane of traffic, and the car put its brakes on immediately (Exhibit “D,” p. 78).
There was no contact between the bus and the car that came in front of him (Exhibit “D,” p. 115). At the time THERESE CONNORS fell, she was standing, not holding onto any hand railings (Exhibit “D,” p. 116). While standing, in one hand she held a microphone (Exhibit “D,”p. 116). At the time THERESE CONNORS fell down, she was not holding onto anything other than what she had in her hands (Exhibit “D,” p. 117). There were railings and seats to hold on to (Exhibit “D,” p. 117). The coach was factory equipped, and SAUK TRAILS, INC. had nothing to do with the configuration of the bus (Exhibit “D,” p. 118). He had no notice a red car would come into the path of the moving bus (Exhibit “D,” p. 118).
Witness Oswald R. Scheuer provided his deposition. On
The bus was in bumper to bumper traffic (Exhibit “E,” p. 9, 13). The roadway was full of cars. THERESE CONNORS was standing up talking on the microphone (Exhibit “E,” p. 46, 50). She had her back to the driver’s seat (Exhibit “E,” p. 10). She was talking to the group while the bus was in traffic (Exhibit “E,” p. 11).
THERESE CONNORS said to passengers the traffic was loosening-up, and they would be proceeding (Exhibit “E,” p. 12). THERESE CONNORS said, “everyone back to their seats” (Exhibit “E,” p. 14). Three to four minutes later, the bus started to move. The bus started to crawl forward (Exhibit “E,” p. 14). All of the sudden, a car shot right through, and the car stopped in front of the bus (Exhibit “E,” p. 44). After the car cut in front of the bus, the bus driver stopped (Exhibit “E,” p. 16). When the bus was stopping, THERESE CONNORS went forward down the steps (Exhibit “E,” p. 17). The car came in front of the bus, and the bus driver applied the brakes (Exhibit “E,” p. 16). When the driver applied his brakes, THERESE CONNORS was standing (Exhibit “E,” p. 20). When the bus driver applied his brakes is when THERESE CONNORS went down the stairs (Exhibit “E,” p. 20, 46). The driver had no reason to believe the car would cut into his path (Exhibit “E,” p. 20). The driver stopped the coach bus to avoid smashing the car (Exhibit “E,” p. 21). The bus driver stopped just in time. The driver of the car had no business shooting in front of the bus (Exhibit “E,” p. 22).
The bus driver was not driving erratically or speeding before the accident (Exhibit “E,” p. 22, 23). He was not critical of the way the driver drove the bus (Exhibit “E,” p. 22-23). ROBERT COOK was a wonderful bus driver (Exhibit “E,” p. 12).
NO DUTY TO THERESE CONNORS, AND ARE ENTITLED TO
TRAILS, INC. was a private charter owing the duty of ordinary care to THERESE
CONNORS. Doe v.
ROBERT COOK’S bus driving does not show negligence. He drove a factory equipped MCI motor coach which was unaltered by SAUK TRAILS, INC.
THERESE CONNORS, a professional bus tour guide, attempts to hold ROBERT COOK liable for THERESE CONNORS’ fall while ROBERT COOK was stopping for a car in traffic. THERESE CONNORS does not know whether she was holding on at the time of the accident or how the accident happened (Exhibit “C,” p. 64, 72). THERESE CONNORS was standing on a moving bus, with her back to the front of the bus, facing passengers; she was either playing games or announcing upcoming trips (Exhibit “C,” p. 63-66).
“The testimony of both plaintiffs does not
disclose any fact giving rise to a reasonable inference that defendant was
guilty of any negligence. At most, their testimony shows that they were
standing in a crowded bus when an automobile ‘made a turn in the middle of the
street’ while the bus driver ‘was looking in the front,’ and the bus driver
‘slammed on his brakes.’ The bus made no
contact with the other vehicle, and there is no testimony as to the speed of
the bus. This, standing alone, does not
make a prima facie case against a carrier.
Union Traction Co. v. Browdy, 206 Ill. 615,
617--619, 69 N.E. 570 (1904); Chicago
City Ry. Co. v. Rood, 163 Ill. 477, 483, 45
N.E. 238 (1896).) There is no
testimony from which it can be reasonably inferred that the driver failed to
exercise due care. ‘The mere fact that
an accident resulting in an injury to a person or in damage to property has
occurred does not authorize a presumption or inference that the defendant was
negligent.’ (*455 Rotche v. Buick Motor Co., 358
Nowhere has THERESE CONNORS
factually established ROBERT COOK was inattentive, drove too fast or
erratically, or had any reasonable notice the bus would be required to make a
sudden stop (Exhibit “C,” p. 60-65).
Both ROBERT COOK and Oswald R. Scheuer
testified the bus stopped to avoid striking the car cutting in front of the bus
(Exhibit “D,” p. 80-84; Exhibit “E,” p. 20-22).
No facts have been established ROBERT COOK’S actions were unreasonable
(Exhibit “E,” p. 14-17). Again, SAUK
TRAILS, INC. and ROBERT COOK operated as a private contract carrier, owing only
the duty of ordinary care to THERESE CONNORS.
As explained by ROBERT COOK and Oswald R. Scheuer, the stop which occurred was incidental to ordinary travel. THERESE CONNORS must present some evidence of some act or omission on ROBERT COOK’S part, combined with the sudden stop, to show ROBERT COOK breached his duty of ordinary care to THERESE CONNORS. THERESE CONNORS has not made this showing.
WHEREFORE, as there is no triable issue of fact sustaining the allegations of Count I and Count II of Plaintiff’s Complaint at Law, the Defendants, SAUK TRAILS, INC. and ROBERT COOK, respectfully request this Honorable Court enter a summary judgment in their favor and against the Plaintiff.
LAW OFFICES OF LOWELL D. SNORF, III Respectfully submitted,
Telephone: (312) 726-8961
Att. No.: 71148 Lowell D. Snorf, III