Is a Municipality Liable for Injuries Suffered by Individual Due to Negligent Repair of a Pothole ?
In Wrobel v. City of Chicago, 318 Ill. App. 3d 390, 395, 742 N.E.2d 401, 252 Ill. Dec. 151 (2000), the plaintiff's alleged that they suffered injuries resulting from the defendant municipality's negligent repair of a pothole. 318 Ill. App. 3d at 391.
The record in Wrobel disclosed how the work was done.
The Court affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant on the grounds that the defendant was entitled to discretionary immunity under 745 ILCS 10/2-201 (West 2008), explaining:
"These workers are directed by their foreman to remove 'as much' loose asphalt and existing moisture in a pothole 'as possible' before applying the cold mixture.
While they are obligated to undertake such measure pursuant to the express directive of their foreman, the workers enjoy discretion in determining how much asphalt and moisture should be actually extracted and whether that amount is indeed adequate to ensure a durable patch.
The decisions of the workers in this regard can also fairly be characterized as policy determinations. When confronted with a particular stretch of roadway, the workers must necessarily be concerned with the efficiency in which they prepare any potholes for repair.
Specifically, the workers must allocate their time and resources among the various potholes that will be repaired, and they must ensure that not too much time is dedicated to pothole preparation.
The more time and resources the workers devote to preparing potholes for a patch, the less time and resources they have available to repair the other potholes existing throughout their daily grid.
For the same reasons discussed above, the extent of the workers' removal efforts represent both a determination of policy and an exercise of discretion.
The degree to which a pothole should be prepared, and specifically how much loose asphalt and moisture will be removed, is a matter of a worker's personal judgment, and encompassed within that judgment are the policy considerations of time and resource allocation during a given workday." Wrobel, 318 Ill. App. 3d at 395.