Failure To Plead Enough Special Circumstances Dooms Appeal

Plaintiff, a pedestrian, was injured in a car accident that happened when the police chased a stolen rental car. Plaintiff was hit by the rental car. She sued the rental car company and the security company that had been hired to secure the rental car company’s car lot. The rental company moved for, and was granted, summary judgment. Plaintiff appealed.

Plaintiff was required to plead “special circumstances” because the car was on private property when it was stolen. Plaintiff argued “special circumstances” on appeal. But the issue was whether it was sufficiently preserved in the trial court. The First District Appellate Court ruled that plaintiff’s “special circumstances” argument was waived.

Plaintiff, however, merely alleged that Budget [car rental company] was negligent for failing to restrict access to its vehicles and in its administration of its NRT [nonrevenue transport ticket] process without alleging any special circumstances, i.e., previous vehicular thefts at the O’Hare Budget facility. Although plaintiff referenced special circumstances in her response to Budget’s motion for summary judgment and asserted therein that Budget took security precautions, she made none of the special circumstances arguments in the circuit court that she proffers in her briefs before this court. As such, those arguments are waived.

Get the whole case, Phillips v. Budget Rent-A-Car Systems, No. 1-05-2950 (2/8/07), by clicking here.