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07/28/89 Kathy Petrauskas, v. Wexenthaller Realty

July 28, 1989

KATHY PETRAUSKAS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

WEXENTHALLER REALTY MANAGEMENT, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIFTH DIVISION

542 N.E.2d 902, 186 Ill. App. 3d 820, 134 Ill. Dec. 556 1989.IL.1176

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Myron T. Gomberg, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE LORENZ delivered the opinion of the court. MURRAY, P.J., and PINCHAM, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LORENZ

Plaintiff, Kathy Petrauskas, appeals from the dismissal with prejudice of her amended three-count complaint for failure to state a cause of action. We address the issue of whether the allegations of plaintiff's complaint state a cause of action for negligence, wilful and wanton misconduct, and violation of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 121 1/2, par. 261 et seq.). We affirm.

The following facts are pertinent to our Disposition of this appeal.

Plaintiff filed an amended complaint against defendants, Wexenthaller Realty Management, Inc., and Briar Building Partnership, for injuries she sustained when she was raped in her apartment. In count I for negligence, plaintiff alleged she rented an apartment from defendants for the period of November 15, 1984, through April 30, 1986, in a building located at 540 West Briar Place in Chicago, Illinois. Plaintiff alleged that on August 6, 1985, an individual, who was not a tenant, confronted her in a common hallway on the fourth floor of the building and forced her into her apartment. Inside the apartment, she was raped and beaten.

Plaintiff alleged the individual obtained access into the building as a result of defendants' negligence. The building had an exterior fire escape with a door at each floor and the base of the fire escape was at ground level. If the fire escape doors were closed, they could not be opened from the outside. The doors led directly into the common hallways of the building. The fourth-floor hallway was not well-lit and "was conducive to harboring trespassers and intruders." On August 5, 1985, and for an unspecified period of time before that date, defendants tied the fire escape doors at each floor in such a way that they would remain in an open position to ventilate the building. Defendants also left a window open in the laundry room located on the first floor of the building. For an unspecified period of time prior to August 5, 1985, a tenant or tenants of the building complained to defendants that the fire escape doors and the laundry room window were repeatedly left open but should have been kept closed.

Plaintiff alleged that the building was located in a "high crime" area. On information and belief, plaintiff alleged that defendants knew or should have known of an incident one month prior to the attack when a person was fatally shot across the street from the building. Plaintiff also alleged on information and belief that at sometime prior to the attack, an unauthorized person gained access into the building and was escorted from the premises by defendants. Plaintiff did not allege how the person entered the building.

Plaintiff alleged defendants violated sections 39--1, 39--2, 61--19, 61--19.1, 78--43, 78--55, 78--59, 78--61, 96--2, and 99--4 of the Municipal Code of Chicago. Chicago Municipal Code §§ 39--1, 39--2, 61--19, 61--19.1, 78--43, 78--55, 78--59, 78--61, 96--2, 99--4 (1984).

As a direct and proximate result of defendants' negligent conduct, plaintiff was physically and mentally injured.

In count II for wilful and wanton misconduct, plaintiff added allegations that defendants acted in reckless disregard for plaintiff's safety.

In count III, plaintiff alleged defendants violated the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act when they made certain misrepresentations of material fact to her and concealed material facts from her.

Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint for failure to state a cause of action under section 2-615 of the Code of Civil Procedure ...


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