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PYTLEWSKI v. UNITED STATES

January 26, 1998

RICHARD PYTLEWSKI, SR., Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ALESIA

 Plaintiff Richard Pytlewski ("Pytlewski") has filed suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act against the United States of America ("the government") for injuries that he sustained in a slip and fall at the Lockport, Illinois Postal Store. The government has filed a motion for summary judgment. For the following reasons, the court grants the government's motion.

 I. BACKGROUND1

 At approximately 4:30 p.m. on September 21, 1995, Pytlewski entered the Lockport, Illinois Postal Store. At that time, there was a "medium drizzle" outside. Before entering the store, Pytlewski walked across six feet of wet concrete sidewalk to the front door of the Lockport Postal Store. Pytlewski did not have an umbrella with him at the time.

 As Pytlewski entered the Postal Store, he stepped on a rubber mat which was located just inside the door of the store and was lying flat on the floor. The mat was wet from people walking on it as they entered and exited the store; however, the mat was not "water logged." The floor of the Lockport Postal Store was also wet, which Pytlewski surmised was caused by people walking into the Postal Store. Pytlewski stepped off the mat, took three steps, and then fell to the floor.

 Pytlewski was taken to St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, Illinois, where he was diagnosed with a fractured left ankle. The next day, September 22, 1995, he had surgery on his left ankle. He was released from St. Joseph Medical Center on September 27, 1995.

 There is no evidence that any of the Lockport Postal Store employees ever mopped the entrance to the Lockport Postal Store on September 21, 1995. In fact, four Lockport Postal Store employees each testified at a deposition that he or she had not mopped the entrance area of the Lockport Postal Store on September 21, 1995 and/or that he or she did not remember anyone else doing so. In addition, one of the employees testified that the Lockport Postal Store has a wet floor sign on a mop bucket, which another employee testified was never placed in the lobby area on September 21, 1995.

 On October 23, 1996, Pytlewski filed suit against the United States of America under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"). Pytlewski's complaint alleges that

 
on September 21, 1995, Defendant's employees were negligent in that (a) they failed to remove, in a timely manner, water which was present on the floor and on a rubber mat which was situated inside the entrance to the post office building; (b) failed to use reasonable care in the maintenance of the floor and rubber mat; and (c) allowed the floor and rubber mat to remain in a slippery, hazardous, and unsafe condition.

 (Compl. P 8.) This court has jurisdiction over the case pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1346 and the FTCA, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2671-80.

 II. DISCUSSION

 A. Standard for deciding motion for summary judgment

 A motion for summary judgment is proper "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). A genuine issue of material facts exists for trial when, in viewing the record and all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-movant. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986); Hedberg v. Indiana Bell Tel. Co., 47 F.3d 928, 931 (7th Cir. 1995).

 The burden is on the moving party to show that no genuine issues of material fact exist. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). Once the moving party presents a prima facie showing that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the non-moving party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials in its pleadings but must set forth specific facts showing that a genuine issue for trial exists. ...


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