Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

Berry v. Chicago, City of

ELR Citation: 50 ELR 20222
Nos. 124999, (Ill., 09/24/2020)

The Illinois Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit concerning the city of Chicago's replacement of water meters and water main pipes as well as the partial replacement of lead service lines that run between water mains and residences throughout the city. City residents brought a negligence claim against the city, alleging that it violated its duty to exercise reasonable care in supplying water to them when it performed the construction work to replace the water mains and meters and when it failed to warn them about the risks of lead exposure from lead service lines associated with the work. The court found that because the residents alleged only that the city caused an increased risk of harm rather than an actual or realized harm, they did not allege a cognizable injury for purposes of a negligence action. The residents also brought an inverse condemnation claim, alleging that the city irreversibly damaged their service lines by using copper and galvanized iron to reconnect their lead service lines to the water supply system and thus made their properties more dangerous. The court found that the concept of "dangerousness" could not be objectively measured and thus could not by itself constitute damage under the Illinois takings clause. It therefore dismissed the residents' claims.