APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION
516 N.E.2d 670, 163 Ill. App. 3d 410, 114 Ill. Dec. 515 1987.IL.1662
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Willard J. Lassers, Judge, presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE QUINLAN delivered the opinion of the court. O'CONNOR and MANNING, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE QUINLAN
The plaintiff, Ernest Phillips, filed suit in a two-count complaint in the circuit court of Cook County against the defendant, United States Waco Corporation (Waco), to recover money damages for personal injuries sustained when he fell from a scaffold manufactured by the defendant. Thereafter, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment on both counts I and II of the plaintiff's fourth amended complaint. After hearing arguments of counsel, the circuit court granted the motion and entered summary judgment in favor of Waco. The plaintiff appealed.
In the fourth amended complaint, the plaintiff alleged in count I that Waco was negligent and that its negligence was the proximate cause of his injuries. He specifically alleged that the defendant was negligent in the following ways: by failing to equip the scaffold with cross braces to prevent "racking," by failing to adequately inspect and test the scaffold before selling it, by failing to equip the scaffold with cleats or other devices, and by failing to affix a label warning users about the danger of "racking." The plaintiff alleged in count II that the scaffold was unreasonably dangerous when it left the defendant's control because it lacked these cross braces, cleats and an adequate warning label.
The evidence concerning the plaintiff's accident was presented to the court through deposition testimony, an affidavit and several exhibits. The plaintiff, Ernest Phillips, testified during his discovery deposition that he was employed as a laborer by the Turner Construction Company at the time of the accident. On the day of the accident, August 4, 1980, the plaintiff was working for Turner at the Burlington Northern Building located at Clinton and Jackson in Chicago, Illinois. He stated that, on that day, he was working with a man he knew as Slim. The plaintiff said that he and Slim were taking turns cutting light fixtures from the ceiling with an acetylene torch while standing on a scaffold. According to the plaintiff, one would stand on the scaffold and cut the fixtures and the other would move the scaffold. Phillips further testified he did not notice anything wrong with the scaffold before he got onto it that day. Phillips and Slim used the scaffold all day prior to plaintiff's fall. Sometime between 3 and 3:30 p.m., the plaintiff stated that he was working atop the scaffold, which was approximately five feet above the ground, and that suddenly he fell. The plaintiff described his fall from the scaffold in his deposition as follows:
"I was just working with the torch, and the scaffold let loose and down I went.
The next thing I know, the scaffold is -- I was falling, going down off the scaffold.
I just know that I was coming off the scaffold, that something broke, and I hit the ground.
Well, one of the ends came loose, the pin came out of it and this whole thing, with your weight on it, you are standing in here, and with the weight on it, it pushes ...