Res Ipsa Loquitur Illinois

The Court has recognized the res ipsa loquitur doctrine as follows: "When an injury is caused by an instrumentality under the exclusive control of the party charged with negligence, and is such as would not ordinarily happen if the party having control of the instrumentality had used proper care, an inference or presumption of negligence arises. the burden then rests upon Respondent to rebut the presumption of negligence arising from the facts of the case." Wiegers v. State (1988), 40 Ill.Ct.Cl. 88, 91. The Court has applied the doctrine in such cases as brake failure on a State vehicle, as in Metzler v. State (1971), 27 Ill.Ct.Cl. 207, and in a strikingly a case, Durbin v. State (2000), 52 Ill.Ct.Cl. 236. In Kenney v. State (1956), 22 Ill.Ct.Cl. 247, a tree limb fell on a patron while he was at a state park and killed him. The State did not offer any explanation or evidence as to what caused the tree limb to fall. Rather, the State contended that it was not liable because it did not have actual or constructive notice that the tree limb was a dangerous condition. The Court applied the doctrine of res ipsa loquiter and found for the claimant because the State "did not offer any evidence or explain why the tree fell." The Court stated that a tree limb, particularly a limb of that size, should not have fallen for no reason, and concluded that the problem could have been determined had a proper inspection taken place. Moreover, the Kenney court held that "it was respondent's duty to make such an inspection in order to safeguard the public." Kenney 22 Ill.Ct.Cl. at 256.