In a recent Illinois Supreme Court opinion, the court had to decide on whether on individuals or a class of individuals could pursue claims against ComEd for lack of service during the storms. Sheffler on behalf of himself and a putative class sought to recover monies, reparations and damages due to flooding, spoliation of food and related matters from the recent disruptions in ComEd’s services.
Sheffler and the putative class asserted claims for breach of contract and negligence by ComEd in providing and restoring service during the recent storms. However, the circuit court dismissed the complaint holding that the complaint failed as a matter of law, because of the following:
a) it lacked jurisdiction for such claims against public utilities, because they were governed by the Illinois Commerce Commission;
b) the claims failed as a matter of law, because infallible service is not required only reasonable and adequate service;
c) ComEd’s tariff limited damages for power outages during storms and such matters were best left to the Illinois Commerce Commission; and
d) ComEd was not required to provide priority to restoring power to individuals that were on life support.
Suing a public utility for damages related to storms in court is difficult. However, you may be able to recover damages relating to the tariff provided by the utility company or pursue such claims with the Illinois Commerce Commissions. Unfortunately, claims for consequential damages relating to flood damage, food spoliation and related matters are likely to be barred by the Moorman doctrine.
Here is the recent Sheffler case. No claims Against ComEd in Circuit Court