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04/21/87 Walter H. Hansen, v. Ruby Construction Company

April 21, 1987

WALTER H. HANSEN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

RUBY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, DEFENDANT (A.M. KINNEY & ASSOCIATES, INC., DEFENDANT-APPELLEE)



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, SECOND DIVISION

508 N.E.2d 301, 155 Ill. App. 3d 475, 108 Ill. Dec. 140 1987.IL.526

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Thomas R. Rakowski, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

PRESIDING JUSTICE SCARIANO delivered the opinion of the court. BILANDIC and STAMOS, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE SCARIANO

Plaintiff-appellant Walter Hansen (Hansen) brought this action seeking to recover damages arising from injuries sustained when he fell from a loading dock designed by defendant-appellee, A.M. Kinney & Associates (Kinney). The trial Judge dismissed Ruby Construction Company from this case and it is not a party to this appeal. The circuit court granted Kinney's summary judgment motion. We affirm.

Hansen stated in his discovery deposition that he had been employed by the United States Postal Service for 12 years, but had worked at the branch where he was injured for only several months. He had previously served with that agency at a nearby office, where he also worked on the loading dock.

On the day of the accident, after Hansen noticed a patron he knew, he picked up the patron's mail and walked over toward the edge of the loading dock to hand it to him. Although Hansen had performed this act many times before without incident, on this occasion he fell off the loading dock.

At the taking of his deposition, Mr. Hansen described in detail the rubber bumper strips on which he claimed to have tripped; apparently their purpose was to prevent hand trucks from rolling off the loading dock. When shown pictures of the dock, however, Hansen was unable to identify the rubber bumpers, explaining that they were beyond the portion of the dock that appeared in the photographs. Nevertheless, Hansen did identify in the photographs certain metal plates which were lowered electrically into trucks to aid loading, and a second set of rubber bumpers on the outside edge of the loading dock, which trucks backed into.

Hansen repeatedly stated that the cause of his fall was the rubber bumpers which acted as a stop for the hand trucks. When asked if he could have tripped over the metal plates on the dock and not over the rubber strips, Hansen replied:

"Well, to be truthful, all I know is I caught my heel on one of those bumper things, and it's a possibility, I really couldn't tell you because it all happened so fast that I, that I couldn't really say now . . .."

Later in the deposition, the plaintiff responded as follows to questions posed by opposing counsel:

"Q. . . . Am I correct that you're certain that the heel of your shoe caught on something on the ...


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