ENGEL v. CHICAGO & NW. TRANSPORTATION CO.
186 Ill. App.3d 522 (1989)
Appellate Court of Illinois — First District (4th Division).
Opinion filed February 16, 1989.
• 8 The Park District contends that it was unfairly surprised by this witness's testimony.
We cannot agree. The court considered both parties' arguments and decided that Hayes could testify subject to limitations that would keep him from giving an expert opinion. The Park District was given the opportunity to depose him before his testimony. Under these circumstances, the trial court did not abuse its discretion. See generally Sherman v. City of Springfield (1969), 111 Ill.App.2d 391, 250 N.E.2d 537.
• 9 Finally, we have reviewed the challenged instructions and do not find error of sufficient magnitude to reverse this cause for a new trial. Most of the challenged instructions, we believe, were proper and correct. The punitive damages instructions should not have been given, for reasons discussed below, but any error resulting was harmless. On the whole, we find that the instructions in this case accurately instructed the jury on the law.
We conclude that the trial court's entry of judgment on the jury's verdict in favor of Engel should be affirmed as to liability and compensatory damages.IV
On Engel's cross-appeal, he argues that the trial court improperly set aside the jury's award of $1.5 million dollars in punitive damages. Although he makes a complex argument based on the Park District's supposed waiver of immunity through purchase of insurance, we need not discuss it in detail because we find, as a matter of law, that the Park District as a municipal corporation is immune from punitive damages awards and has not waived such immunity.
• 10 At common law, municipal corporations have long been held immune from punitive damages awards on the ground that it would be the taxpayers who pay the penalty, not the entity itself; therefore, the objective of punishment and deterrence would be obviated. See George v. Chicago Transit Authority (1978), 58 Ill.App.3d 692, 694-95, 374 N.E.2d 679, 680-81.