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02/06/87 Maria Alonso, v. Francis O'grady Et Al.

February 6, 1987

MARIA ALONSO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

FRANCIS O'GRADY ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIFTH DIVISION

505 N.E.2d 1056, 153 Ill. App. 3d 159, 106 Ill. Dec. 265 1987.IL.137

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Edwin M. Berman, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

Justice Lorenz delivered the opinion of the court. Pincham and Murray, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LORENZ

Plaintiff instituted a negligence action against defendants to recover damages for injuries sustained from a fall in the stairway of a residential property that had been leased to her son. This appeal is taken from a summary judgment order entered by the trial court in favor of defendants.

We affirm.

Plaintiff resided with her son and his wife in a house owned by defendants. The residential property, located in Schiller Park, Illinois, had been leased to plaintiff's son in February 1980. Said lease granted the family the right to occupy the entire house.

Sometime in June 1981, plaintiff fell and injured herself when she tripped on an exposed metal strip that ran along the edge of the steps in the stairway of said premises. As there were no handrails along the stairway for the plaintiff to grab onto, she was unable to regain her balance.

Plaintiff subsequently filed a lawsuit alleging, inter alia, that defendants had a duty to install a handrail at the site of the accident and that failure to do so had proximately caused her injuries. After conducting various depositions and written discovery, defendants moved for summary judgment arguing that no such duty was imposed by the common law and that as the tenants, by virtue of their lease, exercised complete control over the premises, no liability could arise for injuries resulting from a defective condition on the property.

Plaintiff next petitioned and was granted leave to file an amended complaint. Citing the BOCA basic building code (hereinafter referred to as the building code) and the BOCA property maintenance code (hereinafter referred to as the maintenance code), plaintiff this time pleaded liability on the basis that defendants had failed to comply with two duly enacted village ordinances. The building code adopted by a Schiller Park village ordinance in 1977 (Village of Schiller Park, Il., Building Code, ch. 7, art. II, sec. 7 -- 24 (1977)) was enacted to regulate all future construction, repair, and alteration of buildings. Section 816.5 specifically set forth requirements for stairways to have handrails, while sections 816.5.1 through 816.5.4 identified and designed specifications for such handrails. The property maintenance code, adopted by a Schiller Park village ordinance in 1979 (Village of Schiller Park, Il., Building Code, ch. 7, art. II, sec. 7 -- 26 (1979)) required stairs to be made safe in accordance with the regulations delineated in the building code and set standards relating to the maintenance of handrails.

Following a hearing on defendants' summary judgment motion, the trial court concluded that (1) the BOCA building code could not apply to the subject house since the structure had been built prior to the village's adopting the aforesaid regulations, and (2) as the building code was inapplicable and as the requisite standards of the property maintenance code related solely to the regulations contained in the building code, noncompliance with such provisions could not form the basis of defendants' liability.

Opinion

In seeking reversal of the trial court's decision, plaintiff argues that the maintenance code, as it relates to the building code, imposed a duty on defendants to install handrails in the leased residential property. At issue is whether the handrail provision of ...


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