Park District Not Liable |for Fireworks Injury

     (CN) — A woman who lost her right foot in a fireworks accident cannot collect damages from the Chicago Park District, an Illinois appellate court ruled.
     Kristina Perez was celebrating Independence Day at West Lawn Park on Chicago’s west side in 2013.
     Fireworks cannot be shot off in the park without a permit.
     Nonetheless, Thomas Lagowski and Krzysztoff Gros ignited fireworks in the park, and one exploded near Perez. Her right foot and part of her lower leg were amputated.
     Perez settled her lawsuit with the two men and proceeded in court against the Chicago Park District. She asserted claims of negligence, strict liability and willful and wanton conduct.
     The park district filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that it had absolute immunity over any failure to follow its laws.
     The trial court dismissed Perez’s case, and the First District Illinois Appellate Court agreed that the park district was immune under the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act.
     Presiding Justice Michael Hyman explained in the court’s Sept. 13 ruling that the fireworks were not a condition of the park property, and the park district did not supervise the fireworks or the two men who ignited them.
     “Perez can only claim the willful and wanton exception under section 3-106 if her injury was caused by a condition of the Park District’s property, not an activity conducted on it,” he wrote.
     “Also, generally, public landowners have no duty to supervise tortious behavior by third parties,” Hyman added.
     Perez had argued that one of the hazardous activities listed under the act is “racketeering,” but the park district countered that fireworks did not fall into that category.
     “We do not need to delve into the intricacies of pyrotechnics,” Hyman stated. “Perez’s claim does not stand or fall on the definition of ‘rocketeering’ but, rather, on whether the hazardous activity was ‘conducted’ by the Park District.”

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