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In order for a case to be dismissed on summary judgment, there needs to be a clear and obvious outcome that precludes the need to hold a jury trial. A judge may grant a motion for summary judgment if there is only one possible conclusion a jury could find. The idea is that if it is already obvious which way the jury will find, then there does not need to be a jury trial. However, if there are any unresolved issues of fact which remain to be decided upon, then the civil suit needs to proceed to trial.

The Illinois Appellate court recently reviewed a trial judge’s dismissal of a personal injury lawsuit after granting summary judgment in favor of the defense; Gregory Gvillo v. DeCamp Junction, 2011 IL App. (5th) 100262 (October 31, 2011). The defendants claimed that the plaintiff’s claim was precluded under the contract sports exception, whereas the plaintiff contended that it did not apply based on the defendants willful and wanton misconduct. While the appellate court agreed with the defendants, it still found that the defendants were not entitled to summary judgment because a genuine issue of fact remained unresolved.

Gvillo was filed after Gregory Gvillo suffered an ankle fracture and nerve injury during a softball game. Gvillo was playing first base at the time of his softball injury when Aron Klenke was running towards first base when he collided with Gvillo. Gvillo filed a personal injury lawsuit against DeCamp Junction, Inc. and Jim Moultrie for not setting the softball field up according to Amateur Softball Association (ASA) guidelines. Gvillo also filed a claim against Klenke for his role in Gvillo’s personal injury.

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While many people suffer from food allergies, the severity of those allergies varies. For example, some people might break out in a rash that is then easily treated with Benadryl, while others may suffer from more serious, life-threatening reactions. Yet whether your food allergy is mild or severe, it is important to make your waiter aware of your allergy when dining out. However, mistakes have been known to happen and an ingredient which you are allergic to might inadvertently end up in your order.

This sort of mix-up was the subject of the Chicago personal injury case of Eva Holmes White v. Chai H. Leung, d/b/a Choice China Wok, Leung Choice China Wok 10L-2254. In 2004, Eva White ordered the lunch special at Choice China Wok, a Chinese restaurant located at 10341 S. Halsted St. Because Ms. White is allergic to shrimp, she asked that the shrimp egg foo young, the shrimp fried rice, and the shrimp egg roll that were included in the special be substituted with chicken.

After receiving her order, White returned to her car to eat her food. Before eating her egg roll, White reported that she broke it in half and checked that there was not any shrimp in her egg roll. After determining that there was not, she proceeded to take a bite. However, immediately after that she noticed that there was in fact shrimp in her egg roll.

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The phrase “shop til you drop” took on new meaning for Mary Corbett as she was shopping at a Menards in Crestwood, Illinois. The 53 year-old was shopping when a large box fell on her back, forcing her to the ground. Corbett filed an Illinois personal injury lawsuit against the hardware store for back and shoulder injuries she sustained as a result of her shopping accident, Mary Corbett v. Menard Inc., 07 L 65006.

The 2005 Menards accident occurred through no fault of Corbett’s. Rather the accident was caused by a Menards employee who had placed an eight-foot long box of molding upright against a moving display. The box then fell into the nearby aisle as Corbett was walking by. The Menards employee not only helped Corbett to her feet, but also followed the proper procedure and completed an incident report documenting the general facts of Corbett’s accident.

Corbett was able to walk out of the store on her own, without any assistance, but decided to visit her primary care physician when she still was experiencing pain the following day. She was referred to an orthopedic surgeon for complaints of neck pain, who diagnosed Corbett with a cervical strain. A diagnosis of cervical strain is common following auto accidents or fall injuries and is generally relieved with physical therapy or rest. However, Corbett’s pain continued and she was eventually diagnosed with a herniated cervical disc, which required a cervical fusion surgery in order to repair it. Following her surgery, Corbett then began to undergo treatment for a shoulder injury she claimed was also caused by the falling box.

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The City of Chicago is responsible for inspecting Chicago buildings and residences and making sure they are up to code. However, if a building owner is cited for code violations, there is only so much the City can do to persuade the building owner to maintain a safe environment. At some point, it becomes the building owner’s responsibility to safely maintain the property for tenants and visitors.

The Chicago personal injury lawsuit of James Doyle, Administrator of the Estate of Michael Doyle, deceased, v. Kendard Management Corporation, 07 L 1988, is an extreme example of what happens if a building owner elects not to follow the City of Chicago’s recommendations. The lawsuit was filed after 25 year-old Michael Doyle fell through the railings of a third-story porch. The case alleged that the building’s management company knew that the porch was unsafe, but failed to notify its residents or take timely actions to improve the safety of the building’s porches.

Doyle had been attending a friend’s New Year’s Eye party at 3180 N. Clark St. in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. According to eyewitness testimony, Doyle had been sitting in a chair with his back to the porch’s rails and was either attempting to stand or move his chair at the time of the porch accident. However, the legs of his chair became stuck in the porch floor’s slats, causing Doyle to slip and fall head first through the large gap in the porch’s railings. Doyle was immediately transported to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, but was pronounced dead on New Year’s Day.

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An Illinois slip and fall lawsuit was recently settled for $2.25 million. While the case involved fairly severe injuries, what was really unique was the plaintiff’s theory of liability.

In 2006, the 43 year-old plaintiff fell as she was leaving a Kmart store located in Midlothian, Illinois. As a result of the fall, she sustained a right knee fracture and tear in her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). In addition, she was diagnosed with a nerve injury that resulted in a foot drop. Since her fall at Kmart, the plaintiff has undergone a knee replacement and several additional surgeries aimed at repairing her peroneal nerve injury.

At her deposition regarding the Illinois personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff testified that she fell after slipping on a sheet of paper that was lying in a puddle of water. That sheet of paper was actually a Kmart flyer; therefore, the plaintiff was able to connect the cause of her fall directly to Kmart. In addition, she blamed not seeing the Kmart flyer on a plant display.

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The Illinois Supreme Court denied the Chicago Housing Authority’s motion to reverse a lower court’s $16.5 million verdict to a tenant who’d lived in a Chicago apartment with lead-based paint for several years in Donald Howell v. Chicago Housing Authority, No. 112321.

The Chicago personal injury lawsuit was brought by Latanya Turks on behalf of her son, Donald Howell, and alleged that the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) had used lead-based paint in the residence she rented. In addition, Turks alleged that as a result of living in an apartment with lead-based paint, her son suffered permanent mental and physical disabilities due to lead poisoning.

Ms. Turks was living in the apartment while she was pregnant with her son, Donald, and they remained in the same apartment for the next several years. During that time, the lead paint was peeling and cracking, making it even more dangerous. A few years after Donald was born he was diagnosed with lead poisoning based on elevated lead levels in his bloodstream.

Prior to the trial, the CHA admitted liability, acknowledging that the relevant apartment did in fact have lead-based paint and that Ms. Turks was unaware of its presence. Therefore, the jury was only required to decide whether there was a relationship between the lead-based paint and Howell’s injuries, and if so, how much money does the CHA owe Howell.

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An Illinois appellate court found that the City of Chicago was immune from liability regarding a city resident’s fall on a dangerous back staircase. While the plaintiff filed a claim against the building owner, she also filed a personal injury claim against the City of Chicago. However, the trial court granted the City’s motion for summary judgment, a decision which the plaintiff sought to reverse in its appeal. Hess v. Flores, et al., 1-08-1653.

The Chicago personal injury lawsuit arose after the plaintiff, Rebecca Hess, fell from the 2nd floor, rear staircase of the apartment building where she lived. At the time of her fall a piece of the staircase’s handrail was missing; in its place was yellow caution tape. According to City documents, the rear staircase at 2050-2052 W. Summerdale Avenue, Chicago had been in disrepair for several years and constituted a dangerous condition.

In the two years prior to Ms. Hess’s accident, the rear staircase had been subjected to multiple City inspections. The conclusion of each inspection was that the staircase represented a “dangerous and hazardous condition.” Not only had the City cited the owner on multiple occasions over the years, but eventually began judicial proceedings to help correct the apartment’s building code violations. In fact, it was because of the City’s involvement that the plaintiff filed a claim against the City of Chicago even though they were not directly responsible for Ms. Hess’s injury.

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On Valentine’s Day, 2007, Noni Brown, an eighth grade honor roll student at Betty Shabazz International Charter School was playing with her teacher and classmates at Grand Crossing Park. However, short time after the class arrived at the park, a 20 foot light pole fell on top of Noni, pinning her to the ground. The light pole was owned by the City of Chicago, who was then the defendant in the Illinois personal injury lawsuit brought as a result of Noni’s injuries; Noni Brown, a minor v. City of Chicago, 07 L 5062.

The 13 year-old Noni was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she was diagnosed with an epidural hematoma, post-ligament disruption at T4-T6, and spinal fractures at C-2, T-5, and T-6. While she did not require surgery to repair her spinal injuries, Noni was at U of C Medical Center for ten days.

At the Chicago personal injury trial, the plaintiff’s attorneys accused the City of Chicago of not taking reasonable efforts to maintain its light pole for several years. The plaintiff contended that the steel light pole had fallen on Noni with no provocation on her part, or by any of her classmates.

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A Cook County jury returned a verdict for $2,131,587 which included punitive damages, in favor of ISB Products, Inc., a Canadian corporation, in its claim against Autotech Technologies, an Illinois limited partnership and its individual owner. The case centered around a joint venture that was dissolved in March 2000 after only nine months of operation.

ISB Products, Inc. v. Autotech Technologies Limited Partnership, Shalabh Kumar, 01 CH-5970 (transferred to Law Division).

In this case, which was originally filed in the Chancery Division, ISB alleged that the defendants, Autotech Technologies Limited Partnership and Shalabh Kumar, its individual owner, fraudulently induced ISB to enter into a joint venture agreement. It was alleged that the defendants engaged in a scheme whose purpose was to defraud the plaintiff.

The complaint alleged that defendants misrepresented the amount of the existing business that Autotech would transfer to the joint venture, misrepresented that Autotech’s research and development department would design a new press control for ISB, and that defendants misrepresented that the distributors for Autotech’s $200 million business would sell ISB products through the joint venture.

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William Carr filed a lawsuit against Gateway, Inc. accusing the computer company of consumer fraud after it misrepresented the speed of its computer processors to Carr and other consumers. Gateway, Inc. sought to have the case heard before an arbitrator rather than a judge and jury, citing an arbitration clause was found in the sales agreement that was mailed with the computer Mr. Carr purchased from Gateway in 2001. However, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down an arbitration clause found in a contract between William Carr and Gateway, Inc. in Carr v. Gateway, Inc., Illinois Supreme Court, Docket No. 109485.

Carr’s complaint alleged that Gateway had mislead consumers when it marketed its computers outfitted with Pentium 4 processors as being faster than the older Pentium III processors. Furthermore, Carr alleged that the Pentium 4 processor was actually slower than the Pentium III and Athlon processors from Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD).

The Illinois Supreme Court lawsuit did not consider the claims of consumer fraud against Gateway, Inc., but rather dealt with the issue of arbitration proceedings. In Illinois, some contracts between parties include arbitration agreements, which essentially stipulate that if the party signing the contract has a legal claim against the party providing the services that the claim will be decided by an arbitrator rather than a jury.

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