Articles Posted in Premises Liability

A Will County judge rejected Diana Angell’s attempt to use veil-piercing to overcome a mistake made in suing the wrong defendant. Her attorney sued Santefort Family Holdings LLC when she should have targeted an affiliated company known as Midwest Home Rentals LLC. Having done so, the circuit court judge dismissed the case; however, the Illinois Appellate Court for the Third District reversed with a dissent.

Angell was inspecting a mobile home that was for sale or lease at Tri-Star Estate when she walked into an unlit bathroom and stepped into a hole. She was seriously injured and sued Tri-Star’s owner, Santefort Family Holdings. Even though Santefort Family Holdings owned the real estate, the mobile home was owned by Midwest Home Rentals LLC.

To make matters worse, Santefort Family 2012 Irrevocable Trust reportedly owned numerous affiliates, including Santefort Real Estate Group LLC (which owned the defendant, Santefort Family Holdings), Midwest Home Rentals LLC, Santefort Services LLC, Santefort Property Management Inc. (called SPMI) and an array of single purpose entities.

Continue reading

Jacob Hourmouzus was a 17-year-old high school student when he attempted to rescue his dog, which had jumped into an irrigation canal under a metal footbridge on private property. As Jacob and the dog began to be swept away in the canal, he grabbed onto the bridge, which was electrically energized with 240 volts of power. Jacob suffered an electrical shock. He was taken to a hospital for treatment but he later died. Jacob was survived by his parents.

Jacob’s parents sued Solano Irrigation District, a public utility, alleging negligence for choosing not to properly ground the metal footbridge, which caused the bridge to become electrically and dangerously energized.

The lawsuit also alleged that the public utility defendant should have placed private property signs on the bridge to warn of its danger.

Continue reading

In a jury trial over a 3-day period in 2018, the jury returned the verdict in favor of the plaintiff, a restaurant waitress, Raona Pearson. The damages for her injuries were awarded against the defendant, Pilot Travel Centers LLC. Pilot filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV), which was denied by the trial court as were both parties’ motions for directed verdict at the close of all evidence.

Pilot appealed the verdict and the court’s denial of motions for directed verdict.

From the evening of April 7, 2016, Pearson was working as a waitress at a Denny’s restaurant located inside of a truck stop in East St. Louis, Ill. The truck stop was owned by the defendant, Pilot. Both customers and employees of Denny’s had available to them public restrooms located within Pilot’s truck stop. Denny’s did not have public restrooms of its own.

Continue reading

A 3-year-old child, Doe, was on vacation with his family in a vacation rental home that included a fenced-in swimming pool. After dinner one night, family members found young Doe floating face down in the pool.

Doe was resuscitated and air-lifted to a children’s hospital where he remained for one month before being transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation facility.

Doe is now 7. He suffers from hypoxic brain damage that has resulted in cognitive and physical impairments, including an abnormal gait and speech difficulties. Doe’s medical expenses were $294,000.

Continue reading

The Third District Appellate Court, in its written order issued on Oct. 16, 2019, affirmed a Tazewell County judge’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of Pottsie’s Place. The appeals court ruled that the plaintiff, Jeffrey Smith, did not present any evidence showing the bar had a duty to take additional steps to prevent customers from being injured by a heater.

The premises liability case was brought against the bar, Pottsie’s, alleging that the bar chose not to take action to protect its patrons from potential injury when its employees placed a written warning above an outdoor heater.

“Requiring Pottsie’s to take further steps in addition to the clear and prominent warning it provided would essentially render Pottsie’s an insurer of its invitees’ safety, which would be unduly burdensome and contrary to the law,” according to the opinion written by Justice William E. Holdridge.

Continue reading

William Clay, 67, went to a car dealer to help his son purchase a car. As he stood by a raised vehicle in the dealer’s garage, an employee operating a hydraulic vehicle lift lowered the car onto Clay’s right foot.

He suffered crush fractures to three toes, which required amputation within two weeks of the incident. He now suffers pain when walking, has a limp and uses a cane. His medical expenses were more than $31,300.

He sued the operator of the dealership, Shako Mako Inc., and the premises owner, Nahla LLC, alleging that these defendants negligently allowed Clay to access the garage area without warning of the hazard posed by the elevated vehicle.

Continue reading

Sherri Miyagi, a dentist, was visiting a Walgreens pharmacy when she was injured by a hand truck operated by an employee of the defendant, Dean Transportation Inc. Dr. Miyagi filed a complaint, alleging negligence and respondeat superior against the defendant, Dean. Before the start of the jury trial, Dean admitted its negligence and a trial was held on the issues of causation and damages to the four elements of negligence.

Following the trial, the jury signed a verdict in favor of Dr. Miyagi for $2.4 million in noneconomic damages, $300,000 for past medical expenses, and $7.3 million for future medical expenses.

The defendant, Dean, filed a post-trial motion, seeking judgment notwithstanding the verdict, a new trial on all issues, a new trial on damages only, or in the alternative, a remittitur of all but $5,703.68 of the future medical expenses awarded by the jury. The trial court denied defendant’s request for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict and for a new trial. The trial court did, however, grant defendant’s request for a remittitur, but in the amount of $3.65 million, which represented 50% of the jury award for future medical expenses.

Continue reading

Reginald Bush a/k/a Reggie Bush, a former Heisman Trophy winner, had a successful professional football career and was named as starting running back for the San Francisco 49ers. While he was playing against the then St. Louis Rams at Edward Jones Dome in 2005, whose turf playing field was surrounded by a slippery concrete surface, Bush ran out of bounds while returning a punt and slid on the slippery surface, falling awkwardly. As the play ended, and while trying to slow down, Bush slipped on the concrete and suffered a left lateral meniscus tear.

Reggie Bush required surgery and extensive rehabilitation and did not return to play that season. Although Bush subsequently obtained a one-year contract with a different team, he was unable to play. He has not signed another professional football contract. Now he is 33 years old and still has problems with his left knee.

Bush sued the Los Angeles Rams LLC , alleging it was responsible for the St. Louis Rams LLC’s failure to warn of and fix a dangerous condition at the Edward Jones Dome.

Continue reading

The ruling has been upheld in the case of a woman whose estate was awarded $2.5 million after she died falling from a porch almost 14 years ago.

The 1st District Illinois Appellate Court rejected the argument from the defendant Charlotte Klink that the lawsuit filed against the estate of Klink’s former estranged and now-deceased husband was untimely filed.

The original defendant, Ronald Flores, died on Nov. 29, 2010. Continue reading

The Illinois Appellate Court for the 1st District reversed and remanded a decision entered by a judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The issue on appeal was focused on a non-manufacturing defendant in a product-liability case. The defendant identified the manufacturer in order to be dismissed from strict liability in a tort claim. There was a question as to whether the manufacturer was not subject to the court’s jurisdiction and whether the plaintiff should be permitted to reinstate the non-manufacturing defendant.

In this case, Martin Cassidy was working at a warehouse when a flexible bulk container belonging to China Vitamins ripped and leaked, which made the entire stack of containers unstable. One of the stacked containers fell on Cassidy, injuring him.

In 2007, he filed a lawsuit against China Vitamins. The lawsuit alleged strict liability, negligent product liability and one count under res ipsa loquitur.

Continue reading