Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Dismissal of Slip and Fall Accident Lawsuit Against City

As seasoned Chicago personal injury lawyers, we have assisted many Illinois residents with seeking compensation after suffering injuries due to someone else’s carelessness. One of the most common types of claims that we handle is a slip and fall case. Although these actions may seem straightforward, they can become rather complicated. In a recent Illinois Court of Appeal opinion, the plaintiff suffered injuries when she tripped and fell on a sidewalk in front of a restaurant. The plaintiff brought a personal injury action against the restaurant, alleging that she sustained injuries as a result of an uneven sidewalk in front of the restaurant. The husband joined the lawsuit, asserting a claim for loss of consortium. The plaintiffs also sued the City of Chicago.

During the discovery phase of the litigation, the plaintiffs filed a motion to compel discovery from the City on a variety of issues. The plaintiffs sought customer service records regarding the property, licensing documents from the City, a stipulation that the City had no pending plans to repair the sidewalk, a list of all of the employees who worked at the restaurant, all permitting documents regarding the property, any citations that the restaurant received in the years prior to the incident, and other documents. The City produced reports regarding complaints associated with the sidewalk but declined to produce any additional documents. The trial court denied the plaintiff’s motion to compel, and the court did not include a hearing transcript or other information regarding the arguments that the parties submitted at the motion hearing.

The defendants both moved for summary judgment soon thereafter. The City alleged that it did not owe a duty to the plaintiff because the sidewalk defect was negligible and that there was no evidence in the record that the City had knowledge or should have had knowledge of the defect. The lower court granted both the City’s and the restaurant’s motions for summary judgment, indicating that the plaintiffs failed to provide evidence indicating that the City had actual or constructive notice of the sidewalk’s alleged defects. The plaintiffs filed a motion seeking a reconsideration of the lower court’s rulings on the motions and a motion to reopen discovery on the issue of notice in the alternative. The lower court denied both motions.

On appeal, the plaintiffs alleged that the lower court committed a reversible error when it concluded that there were no genuine issues of fact regarding whether the City had notice about the sidewalk’s alleged defect. The plaintiffs also alleged that the trial court erred when it denied the plaintiffs’ motion to compel discovery, among other motions. The Court of Appeal affirmed the lower court’s ruling, finding that the lower court properly denied the motion to compel discovery because the City had produced all of the evidence regarding the issue of notice, and the additional discovery sought, including permitting and licensing reports, would not have contributed to the determination of whether the City had actual or constructive notice. Reviewing the evidence in the motions for summary judgment, the appellate court agreed with the lower court’s determination that the plaintiffs had failed to provide evidence indicating that the sidewalk defect was conspicuous, that the City had notice, or that the defect had existed for a reasonable period of time.

If you have been injured due to a property owner’s failure to maintain his or her premises in good condition, the skilled premises liability attorneys at Therman Law Offices are ready to help you pursue the justice that you deserve. We proudly serve clients throughout Illinois and understand exactly what you are facing during this difficult time. We offer a free consultation to help you learn about your legal options and how we can be of service. Call us now at 775-545-8849 or contact us online.

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