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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Police Action Triggers Immunity Under Tort Immunity Act

In Payne v. City of Chicago, 2014 ILL App (1st) 123010 (July 16, 2014), relatives of the plaintiff called police for assistance after he took crack cocaine and began hallucinating, destroying property, and causing injuries to himself.  Chicago Police arrived at the scene, and were forced to TASER the plaintiff to calm him.  However, the plaintiff wound up falling out of the second story window, causing him to suffer severe injuries and become paralyzed.  It was unclear whether the plaintiff jumped or fell out of the window.

Plaintiff sued the city for battery, alleging that the willful and wanton conduct exception to the Tort Immunity Act applied.  The city denied any wrongdoing based on Sections 4-102 and 2-202 of the Tort Immunity Act.  Section 4-102 provides the city blanket immunity for failing to provide adequate police protection.  However, section 2-202 provides a willful and wanton exception to immunity during the enforcement of law.    

After review of the Tort Immunity Act, the trial court ruled in favor of the city, finding that the Act provided immunity.  On appeal, the Appellate Court affirmed.  The Appellate Court found that the willful and wanton exception to the Act did not apply as the police were not there to enforce any law.  Rather, they were there to provide a police service after being called by plaintiff’s family to provide assistance.  The Court found that the blanket immunity provided in Section 4-102 applied in this scenario because the officers were providing a police service.  

Post Authored by Erin Baker, Ancel Glink


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