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Moorehead v. Metropolitan Water Reclamation Dist. of Greater Chicago

May 09, 2001

KENNETH MOOREHEAD, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
METROPOLITAN WATER RECLAMATION DISTRICT OF GREATER CHICAGO, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE, AND TUNNEL ELECTRIC CONSTRUCTION COMPANY; AND PERINI/ICA/O&G JOINT VENTURE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Wolfson

Not Released For Publication

KENNETH MOOREHEAD, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
METROPOLITAN WATER RECLAMATION DISTRICT OF GREATER CHICAGO, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE, AND TUNNEL ELECTRIC CONSTRUCTION COMPANY; AND PERINI/ICA/O&G JOINT VENTURE, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Wolfson

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County.

The Honorable Lynn M. Egan, Judge Presiding.

 Plaintiff Kenneth Moorehead was injured when he slipped and fell while working as a laborer on a tunnel construction site. Plaintiff filed this action, alleging his injuries were caused by the negligence of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Chicago (Metropolitan), the owner of the project, and Tunnel Electric Construction Company (Tunnel Electric), the company that provided lighting for the project. Metropolitan and Tunnel Electric filed third party complaints against Perini/ICA/O&G Joint Venture (Perini), the General Contractor on the project and plaintiff's employer.

Metropolitan filed a motion for summary judgment. The trial court found the Tort Immunity Act (745 ILCS 10/1-101 et. seq.) barred plaintiff's suit against Metropolitan and granted the summary judgment motion. Plaintiff appeals, contending Metropolitan breached its duty to provide a safe work place. Plaintiff also contends Metropolitan breached its duty to provide adequate lighting in his work area. We affirm.

FACTS

Plaintiff began working for Perini in 1994. Metropolitan hired Perini to act as a General Contractor on its "Tunnel and Reservoir Plan." Perini hired Tunnel Electric as a subcontractor to provide lighting for the project.

On June 18, 1996, plaintiff was working in one of the "deep tunnels" 180 feet below the ground. Plaintiff's job at the site was to make sure material got in and out of the tunnel shafts.

Though Tunnel Electric usually lit the area with a quartz light and a string of lights, the lights were not working that day. The area where plaintiff was working was in total darkness.

Plaintiff fell while he was unloading a flat bed trailer in the tunnel. During his deposition, plaintiff testified he was carrying materials from the trailer to an area further down the tunnel using the "monorail" system installed by Perini to transport materials. On his way back to the trailer, plaintiff tried to avoid a platform that he knew was often covered with grease and hydraulic fluid. Plaintiff could not see because it was "pitch black." He was guiding himself along the wall of the tunnel when his right foot slid out from under him. Plaintiff fell and landed on his buttocks and back.

Plaintiff filed this suit several months later. In his First Amended Complaint, plaintiff alleged Metropolitan:

"a. Carelessly and negligently failed to provide adequate lighting;

b. Carelessly and negligently allowed work to continue when it was aware that the normal artificial lighting system was inoperable;

c. Failed to provide temporary lighting;

d. Failed to provide emergency lighting;

e. Failed to provide hand held flashlights and/or lanterns;

f. Failed to pump water seepage from the walking ...


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