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Tomczak v. Planetsphere

June 26, 2000

CAMILLE TOMCZAK,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
V.
PLANETSPHERE, INC. D/B/A ORBIT SKATING CENTER,
DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Gallagher

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County

Honorable WILLIAM D. MADDUX, Judge Presiding.

ORDER

This is an appeal from an order that granted summary judgment to defendant. Plaintiff, Camille Tomczak, appeals, claiming that the Roller Skating Rink Safety Act (the Act) (745 ILCS 72/1 et seq. (West 1998)) does away with the requirement that a plaintiff must allege and prove actual or constructive notice on the part of a landowner before liability will attach. This is an issue of first impression under the Act. We affirm.

Plaintiff testified in her deposition that she was roller skating on November 16, 1996, at Orbit Skate Center in Palatine, which is owned and operated by defendant, Planetsphere, Inc. Plaintiff considered herself a beginner skater though she had skated when younger and had recently begun to skate again. She made several trips around the rink going forward. She then took a concession break for a few minutes. During that time a male skater slipped and almost fell on what appeared to be water on the rink floor. An unidentified person went to the floor with towels obtained from a rail near the snack bar area and wiped up the puddle of water, which was approximately 18 inches in diameter. Thereafter, plaintiff resumed skating and decided to skate backwards for a while. While doing so, and after some turns around the rink, she slipped and fell, fracturing her elbow. She noticed water near where she fell and also testified that she fell in the area where the other skater had nearly fallen. There was a skylight immediately above the area where her fall occurred. She did not see the puddle she fell in prior to the time of her fall. She was also unable to say how long the puddle was present.

The following exchange occurred in her deposition:

"Q. Would it be fair to say that that puddle could have been there anywhere from ten seconds to ten minutes, you just don't know?

A. I don't know that.

Q. Do you have any information whatsoever as to where this water came from?

A. Other than from the roof, from the sky, from the ceiling, overhead pipes, I don't know.

Q. What makes you think that the water came from overhead?

A. There was nobody skating around with drinks in their hands. Logically speaking, it-- -

Q. Would it be fair to say that you're guessing that the water came from the ...


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