Iseberg v. Gross

227 Ill. 2d 78, 316 Ill. Dec. 211, 879 N.E.2d 278 (2007)

 

RULE:

To state a legally sufficient claim of negligence, the complaint must allege facts establishing the existence of a duty of care owed by the defendants to the plaintiff, a breach of that duty, and an injury proximately caused by that breach. Whether a duty is owed is a question of law for the court to decide, while breach and proximate cause are factual matters for the jury.

FACTS:

The claimant was an attorney purchasing land to develop it. One of the two business partners contacted him because that business partner and the former mutual business partner were building in the same area. After disagreements arose, litigation occurred. A settlement was reached, which caused a joint venture to be created. It also froze out the claimant from having anything to do with the land. Despite the joint venture's efforts, the land was not sold. The former mutual business partner was forced to surrender his interest in the land and lost his entire investment. The former mutual business partner's threats to harm the claimant, whom he blamed, were communicated to the two business partners. They did not warn the claimant or inform police. The former mutual business partner then shot and wounded the claimant. The claimant sued the two business partners for, inter alia, negligence.

ISSUE:

If there is no relationship between two parties involved in the case, is one bound to warn or protect another?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

If no special relationship existed between parties, no obligation lies on the other to warn of the threats of Slavin towards Iseberg. The decision in favor of Gross is affirmed.

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