Appeal from Circuit Court of Jersey County No. 94L40 Honorable Thomas G. Russell, Judge Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Knecht
Plaintiffs, Christa Ford, a minor, by and through her father and next friend, Dennis Ford, and Dennis Ford, individually, brought this action to recover money damages for injuries to Christa's knee received while she was jumping on a trampoline. They allege defendants Jerry and Betty Nairn, the trampoline owners, had a duty to keep the trampoline in a reasonably safe condition for use by Christa and others using the trampoline with the consent of the Nairns and to warn them of any hazards reasonably expected to exist by using the trampoline. They also allege both negligence and products liability against defendant Jumpking, Inc., the trampoline manufacturer, claiming it was Jumpking's duty to warn consumers of any hazards reasonably expected to exist by the use of the trampoline, including the hazard of two or more people simultaneously jumping, called "double jumping," and that Jumpking negligently failed to provide adequate warnings. The trial court grant- ed summary judgment for each defendant. Plaintiffs appeal from both orders of summary judgment, docketed No. 4-98-0675. The Nairns also appeal, seeking dismissal of Jumpking's third-party complaint against them, docketed No. 4-98-0717. We affirm the summary judgment orders in No. 4-98-0675 and dismiss the appeal in No. 4-98-0717 as moot.
The Fords filed their complaint on November 7, 1994. The parties engaged in discovery and numerous discovery depositions were taken. Jumpking filed a motion for summary judgment with an accompanying memorandum and exhibits on April 17, 1997. On May 7, Jerry and Betty Nairn also filed a motion for summary judgment with an accompanying memorandum and exhibits. No memorandum or exhibits were filed by the plaintiffs in opposition to either motion for summary judgment.
On September 3, 1997, the Nairns' motion for summary judgment was argued, and the trial court granted it by docket entry on September 29, finding no genuine issue of material fact. The trial court entered a clarification and amplification of its decision on November 7, finding the Nairns owed no duty to Christa to warn of dangers inherent in the use of a trampoline under the circumstances. Christa was a teenager, and the dangers of the trampoline were open and obvious. In addition, the trial court found the Nairns are protected from liability for the use of their personal property located on their land pursuant to the Recreational Use of Land and Water Areas Act (Recreational Use Act) (745 ILCS 65/1 et seq. (West 1992)).
Further discovery ensued and Jumpking's motion for summary judgment was finally argued on May 28, 1998. The trial court issued its order on July 23. The court found the warnings provided by Jumpking were reasonable under the circumstances, the trampoline had been delivered in a safe condition, and plaintiffs failed to establish a causal link between the alleged inadequate warnings and the injury. Plaintiffs filed a timely notice of appeal from both summary judgment orders.
The evidence in this case consists primarily of the deposition testimony of the parties. Christa testified in her deposition that on November 8, 1992, she jumped on a trampoline at the home of defendants, Jerry and Betty Nairn. She was 14 years old at that time. Christa was spending time with her friend, Angie Gulledge, on the date of the inci- dent. Angie asked Christa if she wanted to go jump on the trampoline at the Nairn residence, across the street from where Angie was living. Angie and Christa went to the Nairns' home and talked to the youngest daughter, Allison, who asked someone else in the home whether the girls could jump on the trampoline and that "someone" said "yes." When Christa called home to ask her mother if it would be all right to jump on the trampoline, Angie told her to tell her mother Jerry Nairn was home and he was the person the girls asked for permission. Christa had never been to the Nairn residence before but she had jumped on trampo- lines previously at least four or five times.
Christa described the Nairns' trampoline as big and round with pads all the way around. At first Christa and Angie jumped separately on the trampoline for about 10 minutes before Christa Nairn and Toni Frank came to use the trampoline also. Christa Nairn and Toni began to do stunts on the trampoline while both were jumping at the same time, and Christa asked if she could join them. Christa testified two people jumped toward each other on the trampoline and then jumped away. They sometimes did a flip or "just little things." They jumped two, three, or four at a time.
Christa continued to jump for an additional 15 or 20 minutes. Toni asked Christa if she wanted to jump higher and Christa said, "Sure." Toni indicated they did it "all the time and it's a lot of fun." Toni jumped toward Christa to make her go higher and was back in the air when Christa felt a pain in her knee as she landed on the trampoline mat.
Christa stated she hurt her knee when the trampoline mat was coming up and she was coming down. Christa said when she landed "there was no give in the trampoline to stabilize, and it [the knee] just clicked on me and went out, and there was a sharp pain."
Christa admitted giving a statement prior to her deposition in which she said she "did come down on it wrong." She also said, "I came down on my foot. It was like the inside of my foot had made my knee give out on me." She further indicated in her statement she was "jumping high."
Christa observed nothing wrong with the trampoline while she was on it. The pads were in place and it appeared to be in good condition. The only warnings or labels Christa recalled on the trampoline were a white tag on the rail and a little square tag on the mat. Christa stated that, in her opinion, instructions and warnings normally stand out but she did not see any. However, she also admitted she could not say whether any other labels were there as she was not looking for instruc- tions or warnings and simply did not look.
Jerry Nairn testified he and his wife purchased their trampoline in 1992. He confirmed he received a user's manual provided by the manufacturer, Jumpking, with the trampoline. He also confirmed receipt of a placard containing trampoline instructions and warning decals. Jerry testified he secured the warning placard to the wall of the Nairn home next to the trampoline. He did not attach the placard to the trampoline itself because he could not find anywhere to attach it. Jerry stated he could have attached it to the trampoline with a twisty tie but did not think it would remain there long. He placed one of the warning decals on the placard and the other on a metal portion of the trampoline where the user climbs on and off. Jerry also stated a warning was sewn on the mat itself, although he did not remember what it said.
Jerry stated he normally could see kids using the trampoline from inside the house and in his garage where he worked. He has no knowledge of the accident involving Christa and has no recollection of Angie re- questing permission for herself and Christa to use the trampoline. Jerry instructed his children that no double jumping was allowed and noted they read the rules accompanying the trampoline.
Betty Nairn confirmed receipt of the user's manual, the placard, and the decals at the time of the purchase of the trampoline. She also stated the placard and decal were posted on the house beside the trampoline. Betty stated she and Jerry would not permit double jumping. She stated the warnings indicated double jumping was dangerous, and her children were familiar with that rule. ...