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06/10/87 Marine Bank of Springfield v. Archer Daniels Midland

June 10, 1987

OF FRED H. FARLEY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, THIRD DISTRICT

MARINE BANK OF SPRINGFIELD, Successor Adm'r of the Estate

509 N.E.2d 163, 156 Ill. App. 3d 576, 108 Ill. Dec. 737 1987.IL.795

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Peoria County; the Hon. Joseph B. McDade, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE HEIPLE delivered the opinion of the court. STOUDER and WOMBACHER, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE HEIPLE

The plaintiff, Marine Bank of Springfield, brought this action as the successor administrator of the estate of Fred Farley, alleging that Archer Daniels Midland violated the Structural Work Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 48, par. 60 et seq.). The court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment and the plaintiff appeals.

In 1983, Archer Daniels Midland employed Midwest Industrial Construction (Midwest) as a general contractor at its Peoria plant. Fred Farley was a roofer and ironworker employed by Midwest, and had been working at the ADM plant for approximately one year. ADM also employed two plant engineers who determined what jobs needed to be done and set priorities for the jobs Midwest was to complete. Midwest assigned employees to the various jobs, determined the manner in which the jobs were to be completed, and was responsible for construction safety in the plant.

One of the plant engineers asked Dana Clark, a Midwest principal, to have an employee inspect and make a list of materials needed to repair the leaking roof on the feedhouse annex. Clark assigned the job to Farley and another man. In his deposition, Clark testified that he told Farley to obtain a stepladder, meet the co-worker on the third floor of the feedhouse, then step through a large window onto the flat roof of the adjoining annex to inspect the leaking roof. Farley did not follow Clark's instructions. Instead, he climbed from a third building onto the steep, rain-slickened feedhouse roof, apparently as an alternative means of reaching the annex roof he was told to inspect. As he attempted to cross the feedhouse roof, Farley slipped and fell to the ground, suffering fatal injuries.

On appeal, the plaintiff contends that summary judgment was improper because there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether the feedhouse roof was a support, whether ADM was in charge of the work, and whether ADM wilfully violated the Act. We find that no genuine issues of material fact exist, and therefore, we affirm the trial court's order granting summary judgment.

The Structural Work Act has been liberally construed in order to afford broad protection to those engaged in work activities of a particularly hazardous nature. However, the Act has never been interpreted to cover all construction activities or all injuries sustained at a construction site. Crafton v. Lester B. Knight & Associates, Inc. (1970), 46 Ill. 2d 533.

The Structural Work Act provides:

"All scaffolds, hoists, cranes, stays, ladders, supports, or other mechanical contrivances, erected or constructed . . . for the use in the erection, repairing, alteration, removal or painting of any house, building, bridge, viaduct, or other structure, shall be erected and constructed, in a safe, suitable and proper manner . . .." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 60.

The plaintiff asserts that because Farley was using the feedhouse roof as a support or scaffold to enable him to make measurements for repairs, he is entitled to the protection provided by the Structural Work Act. He relies on two Illinois Supreme Court cases as support for the proposition that a roof can be a support or scaffold. (St. John v. R. R. Donnelley & Sons Co. (1973), 54 Ill. 2d 271; Crothers v. La Salle Institute (1977), 68 Ill. 2d 399.) We acknowledge that in these cases, the supreme court determined that ...


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