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12/06/89 Andrew Grimmig, v. St. Clair County Et Al.

December 6, 1989

ANDREW GRIMMIG, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

ST. CLAIR COUNTY ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIFTH DISTRICT

548 N.E.2d 92, 191 Ill. App. 3d 632, 138 Ill. Dec. 862 1989.IL.1892

Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County; the Hon. Stephen M. Kernan, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE WELCH delivered the opinion of the court. CHAPMAN and HOWERTON, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE WELCH

Plaintiff, Andrew Grimmig, appeals from the order of summary judgment entered May 31, 1988, in the circuit court of St. Clair County in favor of defendants, two architecture firms, Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, Inc. , and Weisenstein, Hausmann, Ganschinietz & Klingel, Inc. .

On October 19, 1984, plaintiff, a blind man, was injured as he exited the circuit court of St. Clair County through the handicap exit. On February 28, 1986, plaintiff filed his original complaint, which named St. Clair County as the sole defendant. Defendants HOK and WHGK, the architecture firms, were added as party defendants in plaintiff's amended complaint filed October 3, 1986. In his amended complaint, plaintiff alleged negligence on behalf of HOK and WHGK, individually, in the design of the premise wherein plaintiff was injured.

The specific allegations of negligence pleaded in plaintiff's complaint against defendants HOK and WHGK were the following acts or omissions:

1. Negligently and carelessly designed the exit for handicapped persons in that it failed to provide for the safety and protection of blind persons;

2. Negligently and carelessly designed the brick ledge leading from the exit for handicapped persons next to the steps leading down to the intersection of Washington and First Streets;

3. Negligently and carelessly failed to design a railing or barrier of any kind to prevent blind people from walking onto the brick ledge; and,

4. Negligently and carelessly failed to design a warning of the brick ledge's presence next to the steps leading down to the intersection of Washington and First Streets.

Each of these allegations speak in terms of "design" or "failure to design." No allegation of negligence other than the "design" or "failure to design" is spoken of in these allegations, or at any other point in the counts against the defendant architecture firms.

In response to plaintiff's amended complaint, defendants HOK and WHGK filed answers denying plaintiff's allegations of negligent design. Additionally, HOK and WHGK each filed an affirmative defense claiming that plaintiff's complaint was barred by the applicable statute of limitations. On October 30, 1987, HOK and WHGK filed a motion for summary judgment, stating that all design and specifications for the St. Clair County court building were completed on or before ...


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