Segal McCambridge Attorney Kevin Bugos Obtains Summary Judgment for Client Ford Heights Police Department in Accident Case

News

October 12, 2011

Segal McCambridge attorney Kevin Bugos obtained summary judgment for the Ford Heights Police Department in a case involving a traffic accident on U.S. Highway 30 in Ford Heights.

One morning in June of 2007, a Ford Heights police officer was conducting an overweight commercial vehicle enforcement operation, pulling over truck drivers suspected of failing to use a nearby open weigh station, in violation of the law. The stretch of Highway 30 on which this action was being undertaken does not have a shoulder, so the police officer instructed drivers to stop in the righthand-most westbound lane of traffic and turn their flashers on. During the course of the investigation, a vehicle operated by the plaintiff rear-ended a truck that had been pulled over by the officer. The plaintiff sued the truck driver and the trucking company for negligence, who in turn filed a third-party contribution action alleging that the Ford Heights police department was negligent for directing the truck driver to stop his vehicle in an unsafe area on the roadway.

Under Illinois law, police officers and municipalities are immune from liability for actions taken in the "execution or enforcement of any law," unless those actions are "willful and wanton." In granting the motion for summary judgment, Judge Joan B. Gottschall wrote, "it is impossible to see what basis a jury would have for finding (the officer's) conduct willful and wanton."

Mr. Bugos filed the motion in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. The judge's decision was issued Septermber 30, 2011.