The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES MORAN, Senior District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff William Sikora brought this action against defendants
arising from injuries he received while cleaning elevator ropes.
Defendants filed a series of summary judgment motions and two motions
in limine. Plaintiff filed a motion to strike certain portions of
defendants' expert report. For the following reasons, defendants' summary
judgment motions 3 and 4 are granted and the remaining motions are
William Sikora was employed by Montgomery Elevator Company (Montgomery)
as an assistant elevator repairmen. In late 1991, Montgomery installed
the elevator system in the new Sheraton Hotel & Towers in Chicago,
Illinois, using wire cables that were manufactured by defendant Verto
Staalkabel B.V. (Verto) and distributed by AFD Industries, Inc. (AFD). On
March 1, 1992, the hotel opened for business and public use of the
Shortly thereafter, a black tar-like substance (commonly referred to as
"gunk") began accumulating on the elevator ropes. While gunk is not
unusual, the substance on the ropes in the Sheraton had a different consistency, texture and volume than
that usually encountered by Montgomery personnel. It is also apparently
unusual for gunk to appear so quickly after installation. While there is
substantial disagreement as to the usefulness of different cleaning
methods, plaintiff claims that the character of gunk on the Sheraton
ropes required Montgomery employees to clean the sheaves as well as the
ropes. Additionally, he alleges that the only way to do so adequately was
to hold a putty knife against the sheave grooves while the system was
On April 15, 1993, employees of AFD and Verto inspected the elevators
and noticed that the diameter of the ropes had decreased by 4 to 5 per
cent. Plaintiff claims that defendants should have realized at that time
that an extraordinary cleaning method was necessary to address the
problem. Employees of Montgomery recommended that the ropes be removed
and replaced because they were defective, but defendants declined to do
so and Montgomery employees continued to clean the ropes.
On April 30, 1993, plaintiff was using a putty knife to remove gunk
from the sheave when his hand got caught in the ropes. When he was unable
to remove his hand from the ropes, his right hand and arm were amputated
and his left hand was seriously damaged.
The court's function in ruling on a motion for summary judgment is
merely to determine if there is a genuine issue of material fact for
trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). Only if
the evidence on file shows that no such issue exists, and that the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, will the court grant the
motion. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Bennett v.
Roberts, 295 F.3d 687, 694 (7th Cir. 2002).
Plaintiffs complaint consists of four counts. In count I, he alleges
strict liability against Verto as the manufacturer of the ropes. In count
II, he claims that defendants' employees negligently performed the April
14, 1993, inspection. Counts III and IV contain allegations of breach of
implied warranty for an ordinary purpose, and breach of implied warranty
for a particular purpose.
Verto's Summary Judgment Motion No. 1
Defendant Verto first argues that it did not owe a duty to the
plaintiff because he was injured while trying to repair the very condition
that he was hired to repair. Verto cites to Shanks v. Insurance Co. of
North America. 211 So.2d 729 (La. Ct. App. 2nd Cir. 1968) for the
proposition that, particularly where the product manufactured by the
defendant was the component of a larger system, a manufacturer owes no
duty in this situation.
In Illinois, the general rule is that a manufacturer of a product owes
a duty in strict liability to any reasonably foreseeable plaintiff. Court
v. Grzelinski, 379 N.E.2d 281, 283 (Ill. 1978). This may include parties
who are outside the purchasing line of the product, such as a repairman.
Id; see also Skarski v. Ace-Chicago Great Dane Corp., 485 N.E, 2d 1312,
1317 (Ill.App. 1st Dist 1985). A majority of out-of-state authorities,
including many of the cases relied upon by ...