Madison - St. Clair Record

Monday, July 22, 2019

Fifth District vacates summary judgment for Metro in assault suit

Personal Injury

By Gabriel Neves | Dec 31, 2018

MT. VERNON -- The Fifth District Appellate Court vacated summary judgment for Metro in a man's lawsuit alleging he was assaulted near an East St. Louis Metro station. 

Justice Judy Cates entered the 17-page ruling on Dec. 7 with justices Richard Goldenhersh and Melissa Chapman concurring. Cates vacated an order out of the St. Clair County Circuit Court granting summary judgment for Bi-State Development Agency of the Illinois-Missouri Metropolitan District, doing business as Metro. The case was remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings. 

Summary judgment had been granted after the circuit court considered Metro a public entity and not operating as a "common carrier" during the time of the attack. 

Plaintiff Francis Stanley filed the lawsuit against Metro and Securitas Security Services USA Inc. on Sept. 17, 2014.

In his complaint, Stanley claims he was attempting to go home from work at approximately 7:15 p.m. on Sept. 27, 2013, when he was allegedly attacked by two unknown persons while ascending a concrete stairway leading to the Jackie Kersee Metrolink station in East St. Louis. 

"He had climbed three flights of stairs, reaching the third landing of the stairway, when he was attacked. The

stairway was owned and controlled by Metro. It led from a sidewalk on 25th Street to the JJK Metrolink station, a Metro bus turnaround, and a Metro bus stop. A large Metro sign was adjacent to the first landing of the stairway. The plaintiff was hospitalized for head and upper body injuries that he sustained during the attack," Cates wrote.

Stanley alleges Metro breached its duty to protect him, breached its duty to exercise the highest degree of care and knew about previous attacks. 

Stanley filed an amended complaint on July 29, 2015, adding Securitas as a defendant. 

The circuit court granted Metro's motion for summary judgment on Feb. 17, 2016. 

Cates disagreed with the ruling, concluding that Metro was not entitled to immunity from potential liability. 

"After reviewing the record, including the pleadings, depositions, and affidavits, we find that Metro was operating as a common carrier at the time of the assault on the plaintiff," she wrote. 

Illinois Fifth District Appellate Court Case number  5-17-0028

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