September 25, 2020

Volume X, Number 269

September 24, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

September 23, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

September 22, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Public Utilities Act Does Not Preempt Property Owner's Rights To Sue Utility For Wrongful Tree Cutting

Plaintiffs owned property abutting railroad tracks. To block the view of trains and noise, they planted trees and other vegetation. Com Ed periodically trimmed the trees to prevent interference with its lines. However, Com Ed then decided to remove plaintiff's trees as well as those of other property owners. A private tree-cutting service requested permission to remove pine trees, but plaintiffs refused. Nonetheless, they cut down the trees without authorization. Plaintiffs then filed a class action alleging trespass, conversion, and violation of the Wrongful Tree-Cutting Act. The trial court dismissed the complaint based upon §8-505.1 of the Public Utilities Act which granted the ICC exclusive jurisdiction to investigate and hear complaints against the utility.

The First District reversed. It noted inconsistent language in that the ICC was given exclusive jurisdiction, but it also said the provision would not "in any way diminish or replace other civil or administrative remedies…" The court concluded the Act did not suggest a legislative intent to deprive tort victims of common law remedies. Durica v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 2015 IL App (1st) 140076

© 2020 Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen, P.CNational Law Review, Volume V, Number 288


About this Author

Litigation of business and commercial cases is a major focus of Heyl Royster. Our experience encompasses all aspects of commercial dispute resolution - state and federal forums, administrative proceedings, arbitration, and mediation - in almost every area of substantive business law.