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04/29/88 No. 87-2309 v. Yerson Building Systems

April 29, 1988

APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, SECOND DIVISION VITO

v.

CARNEVALE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

INLAND RYERSON BUILDING SYSTEMS, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE



523 N.E.2d 1056, 169 Ill. App. 3d 740, 120 Ill. Dec. 145 1988.IL.637

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Dean J. Sodaro, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE STAMOS delivered the opinion of the court. HARTMAN, P.J., and BILANDIC, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE STAMOS

Plaintiff, Vito Carnevale (Carnevale), appeals the trial court's order granting defendant's summary judgment motion as to count I of Carnevale's third amended complaint. Count I of Carnevale's third amended complaint alleges that defendant, Inland Ryerson Building Systems, a division of INRYCO, Inc. (Inland), is liable under the Structural Work Act (the Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 48, par. 60 et seq.) for injuries that Carnevale sustained when he fell upon bar joists which he was attempting to cross through and over while carrying lengths of plumbing piping.

Carnevale, a full journeyman plumber, was working for Austin Mechanical Contractors (Austin) in January 1982. On January 5, 1982, Carnevale was working on a Bedford Park post office. Carnevale was doing water piping -- running pipes to water fixtures, water coolers, sinks, and toilets.

Carnevale noticed that the south doorway that he was instructed to use to enter the building was blocked. Two pieces of structural steel, otherwise known as bar joists, were lying on the ground parallel to the south edge of the post office building. The bar joists, approximately 30 to 50 feet in length and 30 inches in width, were stacked upon one another in a scissors-like configuration resulting in a height of about 12 inches.

On several occasions, Carnevale complained to his superiors, Vic Macy, Dave Ennes, and Jerry Dell, that the bar joists created a hazardous condition, making it awkward for workers to try to get over the joists and step between them in order to use the south entrance-way to the post office building. Carnevale also noted that the ground beneath the joists was uneven. Carnevale's complaints were to no avail.

For this particular project, Carnevale was required to lift and carry pipe into the post office building. Shortly after beginning work on January 5, 1982, Carnevale proceeded to the material trailer to get two or three pieces of pipe. Carnevale placed the pipe on his shoulder and started walking toward the post office building. When he neared the south entranceway, Carnevale stepped over the first bar joist with his left foot, and began to follow with his right foot. Carnevale felt that he was losing his balance. Afraid that the pipes were going to impale him as he fell, Carnevale threw the pipes off his shoulder and fell forward, hitting both of his knees. At the time of Carnevale's fall, parts of the terrain were snowy and icy.

Carnevale attempted to work the rest of the day, but his right leg began dragging and he began to feel twinges of pain in his left leg. Carnevale then took a few days off from work. Upon returning to work, Carnevale's leg pains worsened and he worked for only two more weeks.

Carnevale filed suit against Inland and, in count I of his third amended complaint, alleged that Inland, as the general contractor at the construction site, violated the Act and was thus liable for the injuries that he had sustained.

Inland moved for summary judgment as to count I. At the summary judgment hearing, the trial court determined that there were no disputed questions of fact. In addition, the trial court stated that it would base its decision on the facts that Carnevale set forth in his deposition testimony. The trial court then gave a brief summary of the facts according to Carnevale and proceeded to discuss the legal issues. The trial court granted Inland's motion for summary judgment. Carnevale appeals.

Carnevale contends that Inland violated the Act when it failed to provide a support (stairs or a ramp) over the bar joists, thus making it an unsafe place for Carnevale to work. In essence, Inland responds that the Act is not applicable to the case at bar because none of the support devices enumerated in the Act are involved here. Thus, the issue for review becomes whether Inland's ...


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