Attorney Stephanie A. Black with Beatty Motil + Black, recently defeated Defendant property owners' Motion for Summary Judgment in Madison County Circuit Court. In her motion and at hearing, Black argued that Plaintiff Dolores Parente offered ample testimony that she fell on the Defendants' dangerous stairs due to their unevenness and varying riser height.
Ms. Parente's suit asserts that she sustained personal injuries after tripping and falling on concrete steps located outside the Cato Fashions store at Cottonwood Plaza in Glen Carbon, Illinois. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant property owners were negligent by permitting stairs or steps of varying rise-height to be used by members of the public; by failing to provide a handrail or handrails for use by persons traversing the stairs of varying riser height; and by failing to warn the plaintiff of the varying riser height of the stairs or steps.
In their Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants alleged that Plaintiff failed to show a connection between her fall and the condition of that stairs outside Cato. Under Illinois law, where a plaintiff asserts that a stairway’s unlevel condition was at least a partial cause of her fall, a material issue exists and summary judgment is inappropriate. Bellerive v. Hilton Hotels Corp., 245 Ill. App. 3d 933, 937, 615 N.E.2d 858, 861 (2nd Dist. 1993). In Ms. Parente's case, she and others offered testimony that Plaintiff fell, at least in part, due to the Cato stairs being uneven and having various heights. Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth was not persuaded by Defendants' argument and allowed Plaintiff's case to proceed.
The case is Parente v. THF Glen Carbon Development, LLC, et al., Madison County Case No. 15-L-1163, Order dated April 25, 2018.