Choate’s deposition testimony that he recognized the danger of grabbing onto a
moving train satisfies all of the criteria for a binding judicial admission. It is well-
established that a “discovery deposition may be used as an admission made by a party.”
Van’s Material Co. v. Dep’t of Dev., 131 Ill. 2d 196, 211 (1989); see Ill. Sup. Ct. R.
212(a)(2). A judicial admission is a “deliberate, clear, unequivocal statement of a party
about a concrete fact within that party’s peculiar knowledge.” Id. (internal quotation
marks omitted). According to the trial court, Choate’s statement that he recognized the
dangerousness of grabbing onto a moving train was a “conclusion,” rather than an
“unequivocal statement” of fact. Tr. 112. Not so. It was a concrete fact peculiarly within
Choate’s knowledge whether he did or did not appreciate that moving trains were
dangerous at the time of the accident. E.g., State ex rel. Beeler Schad & Diamond, P.C. v.
Ritz Camera Ctrs., Inc., 377 Ill. App. 3d 990, 997-99 (1st Dist. 2007) (state of mind is a
question of fact); Peterson v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co., 160 N.W.2d 541, 545 (Minn.
1968) (“when a party testifies to facts in regard to which he has special knowledge such
as his own . . . knowledge, or his reasons for acting as he did . . . he will be bound”);
Findlay v. Rubin Glass & Mirror Co., 213 N.E.2d 858, 861 (Mass. 1966) (“Since this
testimony concerns the extent of his own knowledge, the plaintiff is bound by it.”); Bell
v. Harmon, 284 S.W.2d 812, 815 (Ky. Ct. App. 1955) (“plaintiff’s state of mind was
peculiarly within her knowledge,” and so “constitute[s] a judicial admission”).
The trial court was equally mistaken in reasoning that the word “dangerous” is
ambiguous. Not only is “dangerous” a commonplace word, but Choate himself used it
during the deposition on several occasions: Choate knew that “dangerous” things were
things that could “hurt” him. D. Choate Dep. 28-29, 127-28 (A22-23, 29); see Hansen,