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11/09/87 Marvin Trotter, A Minor By v. Chicago Housing Authority

November 9, 1987

APPOINTED GUARDIAN, DOLLY TROTTER, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

CHICAGO HOUSING AUTHORITY ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION

MARVIN TROTTER, a Minor by his Grandmother and Duly

516 N.E.2d 684, 163 Ill. App. 3d 398, 114 Ill. Dec. 529 1987.IL.1660

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

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the court. CAMPBELL, J., concurs. JUSTICE BUCKLEY, Dissenting.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE O'CONNOR

Plaintiff Marvin Trotter, a minor, by Dolly Trotter, his grandmother and duly appointed guardian, sued defendants Chicago Housing Authority and its janitor Bulford Givens (Givens) for personal injuries sustained, where, at age 11 months, he fell off a bed in his mother's apartment and was burned by a steam pipe adjacent to his bed. The trial court, relying on Hubbard v. Chicago Housing Authority (1985), 138 Ill. App. 3d 1013, 487 N.E.2d 20, entered summary judgment for defendants. Plaintiff appeals contending that the rule stated in Hubbard is no longer valid.

The record shows the following.

Plaintiff's mother Shirley Anne Trotter rented an apartment from CHA's Henry Horner Homes and moved in on October 31, 1975, with her son Matthew. When she moved in she did not notice anything wrong with the apartment.

In 1976, plaintiff's grandmother, who lived in an apartment in another building in the Henry Horner Homes, complained to the CHA at its maintenance office about the bare pipe. That was the only time she complained. Plaintiff's mother never did.

On January 15, 1977, plaintiff Marvin was born. About 9 p.m. on December 9, 1977, plaintiff, age 11 months, was badly burned when he fell from his bed on to a bare steam pipe that ran horizontally into a radiator which, together with the pipe, was part of the heating system of the building. The pipe had been there from the time she moved in. Plaintiff was at the age where he was on his way to begin to walk; he was holding on, standing up and then falling down. Plaintiff's bed was a single bed without any guardrails. Plaintiff had never fallen on the pipe before., Plaintiff alleged defendants were negligent in that they:

(a) failed to exercise reasonable care in the operation and control of its premises;

(b) failed to inspect the bedroom, which would have revealed a hazardous condition;

(c) permitted uninsulated pipes to be used in heating the apartment;

(d) failed to warn plaintiff of dangerous conditions;

(e) failed to repair defective condition of pipes by enclosing or insulating them;

(f) failed to inaugurate and maintain necessary and proper safety standards in the operation of the premises.

As stated, the trial court entered summary judgment for defendants on the authority of the Hubbard case.

In that case, Hubbard v. Chicago Housing Authority (1985), 138 Ill. App. 3d 1013, 487 N.E.2d 20, appeal denied (1986), 111 Ill. 2d 581, a tenant was injured when he came in contact with a hot steam pipe located in his apartment which was owned by CHA (the same defendant as in the case at bar). There, as here, plaintiff alleged negligence on the part of the CHA in placing steam pipes along the surface of the apartment walls where tenants would come in contact with the pipes, which were not covered by any type of insulating material. Defendant was alleged to be negligent in leaving hot steam pipes exposed (one of the charges of negligence in the case at bar).

This court held that there was no liability on the part of CHA, stating:

"It is well settled that a landlord is not liable for injuries sustained by a tenant on premises leased to the tenant. (Thorson v. Aronson (1970), 122 Ill. App. 2d 156, 258 N.E.2d 33.) 'In multiple-unit dwellings, a landlord owes his tenants a duty of reasonable care in the management and maintenance of areas open for use by all tenants.' Webster v. Heim (1980), 80 Ill. App. 3d 315, 316, 399 N.E.2d 690, 619." 138 Ill. App. 3d at 1015.

The steam pipes in the instant case are similar to the steam radiator involved in Dargie v. East End Bolders Club (1952), 346 Ill. App. 480, 105 N.E.2d 537. There, the plaintiff was a three-year-old child who was burned by an exposed radiator in a restroom in defendant's club. Plaintiff alleged that defendant was negligent in failing to cover the radiator with a guard. This court held that leaving a steam radiator exposed did not constitute negligence since the radiator was being used for the purpose for which it was intended and there was no defect in the radiator. (346 Ill. App. at 490, 105 N.E.2d at 542.) Similarly, in the instant case, we do not believe plaintiff has stated an action for common law negligence. Plaintiffs do not point to any defects in the steam pipes. The steam pipes ...


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