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Heil IDC Article on Tort Immunity Act and Meaning of “Willful & Wanton” Conduct

08/30/2017

John Heil’s article “It Means What it Says: The Proper Definition of Willful and Wanton Misconduct under the Tort Immunity Act” appeared in the August edition of IDC Defense Update, the newsletter of the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel’s (IDC) Civil Practice Law Committee. The article examines the opinion of the Illinois Supreme Court in Barr v. Cunningham, 2017 IL 120751, in which the court reaffirmed the meaning of “willful and wanton” misconduct in the context of Section 3-108 of Illinois’ Tort Immunity Act. In Barr, a unanimous court found that the trial court properly granted a directed verdict in favor of the defendant school district as to the willful and wanton claim because of a lack of any facts that the school acted with “conscious disregard” for a student’s safety. Heil pointed out that the case stands for the proposition that allegations of willful and wanton conduct “should not be treated lightly, and counsel is advised to use the guidance provided by Barr….”