Agency for Community Transit denies ownership of bike trail in lawsuit

Christina Stueve Hodges Aug. 23, 2012, 7:00am



The Agency for Community Transit denies ownership of a bike trail at issue in a Madison County personal injury lawsuit.

Ian Hester is a bicyclist who allegedly fell more than 10 feet when a road came to an end because he thought there was a bike trail beyond, but there really wasn't.

He filed a lawsuit against the agency in April, alleging the July 24, 2011 incident happened because the road he was on had the appearance that the bike path continued at the road's end.

The Agency for Community Transit filed an answer to the plaintiff's first amended complaint on Aug. 17, denying the plaintiff's allegations. The agency admits it maintained the Confluence Trail and admits that a portion of the trail is located near Illinois Route 3 and Rock Road in Granite City, but denies it is responsible for the plaintiff's injuries.

The Agency for Community Transit also filed a motion to dismiss Aug. 17, stating that a local public entity is not liable for an injury where liability is based on the existence of a condition of any public property intended or permitted to be used for recreational purposes, including parks, playgrounds, open areas, buildings or other areas unless the local entity is guilty of willful and wanton conduct proximately causing such injury.

The Agency also argues that if the plaintiff's negligence is determined to be less than 50 percent of the cause of his injuries, any damages allowed must be diminished in proportion to the amount of fault attributable to the plaintiff for failure to exercise ordinary care in causing his own injuries.

Hester's attorney had requested to file an amended complaint to conform to evidence adduced through discovery to date.

Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth on June 29 continued the case to Aug. 24, based on the defendant's motion to dismiss.

Because of his fall, Hester claims he suffered a fracture in his heel bone and compression fractures in his back. He also incurred medical costs, lost wages and was prevented from attending to his duties, according to the complaint.

Hester seeks a judgment of more than $50,000.

Donald Ohl of Knapp, Ohl & Green represents the Agency for Community Transit.

Samantha S. Unsell of Belleville represents Hester.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-549.

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