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Barry Oskoui v. Red Roof Inns

April 11, 2011

BARRY OSKOUI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
RED ROOF INNS, INC, REDTOP PROPERTY, LLC, R-ROOF IV, LLC, ACCOR NORTH AMERICA, INC.,
F/K/A ACCOR ECONOMY LODGING, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy J. St. Eve, District Court Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

On December 5, 2008, Plaintiff Barry Oskoui ("Oskoui") filed an Amended Complaint against Red Roof Inns, Inc., Redtop Property, LLC, R-Roof IV, LLC, and Accor North America, Inc., f/k/a Accor Economy Lodging Inc. (collectively "Red Roof") based on the Court's diversity jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a). The only remaining claims in this lawsuit are for premise liability (Counts VI-IX) and common law negligence (Counts XI-XIV) concerning a November 5, 2006 incident at the Red Roof Inn located at 2500 Hassell Road, Hoffman Estates, Illinois.*fn1

Before the Court are the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. For the following reasons, the Court grants Red Roof's motion for summary judgment and denies Oskoui's motion for summary judgment. The Court therefore dismisses this lawsuit in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

I. Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1

Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1 assists the Court by "organizing the evidence, identifying undisputed facts, and demonstrating precisely how each side propose[s] to prove a disputed fact with admissible evidence." Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Bd. of Trs., 233 F.3d 524, 527 (7th Cir. 2000). Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the moving party to provide "a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue." Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009). "The opposing party is required to file 'a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon." Id. (citing N.D. Ill. R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)). Also, Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) requires the nonmoving party to present a separate statement of additional facts that require the denial of summary judgment. See Ciomber v. Cooperative Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 635, 643-44 (7th Cir. 2008).

The purpose of Rule 56.1 statements is to identify the relevant admissible evidence supporting the material facts, not to make factual or legal arguments. See Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 2006) ("statement of material facts did [] not comply with Rule 56.1 as it failed to adequately cite the record and was filled with irrelevant information, legal arguments, and conjecture"). The Court may disregard statements and responses that do not properly cite to the record. See Cichon, 401 F.3d at 809-10; see also Corley v. Rosewood Care Ctr., Inc. of Peoria, 388 F.3d 990, 1001 (7th Cir. 2004) (when a party fails to cite the record, "we will not root through the hundreds of documents and thousands of pages that make up the record here to make his case for him."). It is well-established that "district courts are entitled to expect strict compliance with Local Rule 56.1." Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 604 (7th Cir. 2006).

Because Oskoui failed to file a Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B) response to Red Roof's Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement of Facts, the Court admits Red Roof's Statement of Facts as undisputed. See Patterson v. Indiana Newspapers, Inc., 589 F.3d 357, 360 (7th Cir. 2009); Cracco, 559 F.3d at 632. The Court also disregards any citations to the record in the parties' legal memoranda that do not reference their Local Rule 56.1 Statements of Fact. See Malec v. Sanford, 191 F.R.D. 581, 586 (N.D. Ill. 2000) ("Citations in the fact section should be to the 56.1(a) or (b) statement of facts only"); see, e.g., Gross v. Town of Cicero, Ill., 619 F.3d 697, 708 (7th Cir. 2010).

II. Relevant Facts

Oskoui resided at the Red Roof Inn located at 2500 Hassell Road, Hoffman Estates, Illinois from April 2006 until the day of the incident, November 5, 2006. (R. 104, Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts ¶ 1; R. 91, Pl.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts ¶ 1.) Due to a shoulder injury, Oskoui asked for a handicapped accessible room -- room number 134 -- in which he was staying on November 5, 2006. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 3.) On that date, Oskoui took a shower, opened the shower curtain, and reached for a towel. (Id. ¶¶ 6, 7; Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 10.) When Oskoui attempted to retrieve the towel, he started falling, after which he used the towel rack to catch his fall. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 9, 10; Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 5, 53.) Oskoui specifically testified that while he started to fall forward he "twisted the towel bar so I can lean on it, you know, in a way so I could maybe exert force to pull myself up, but my weight was pushing me down and I noticed my whole eye is going into the towel bar." (Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 14; see also Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 11, 12, 14.) Thereafter, Oskoui's eye was surgically removed. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 15.)

SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).*fn2 A genuine dispute as to any material fact exists if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202 (1986). In determining summary judgment motions, "facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party only if there is a 'genuine' dispute as to those facts." Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380, 127 S.Ct. 1769, 167 L.Ed.2d 686 (2007). The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). After "a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party 'must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255 (quotation omitted).

ANALYSIS

The parties do not dispute that Illinois law governs this premises liability/negligence action. Under Illinois law, "to recover damages based upon negligence, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff, that the defendant breached that duty, and that the breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injury." Krywin v. Chicago Transit Auth., 238 Ill.2d 215, 345 Ill.Dec. 1, 938 N.E.2d 440, 446 (Ill. 2010); see also Staples v. Krack Corp., 186 F.3d 977, 979 (7th Cir. 1999). "The touchstone of the duty analysis is to ask whether the plaintiff and defendant stood in such a relationship to one another that the law imposes on the defendant an obligation of reasonable conduct for the benefit of the plaintiff." Krywin, 938 N.E.2d at 447. Here, the innkeeper-guest relationship applies. See Iseberg v. Gross, 227 Ill.2d 78, 88, 316 Ill.Dec. 211, 879 N.E.2d 278 (Ill. 2007); Olivarius v. Tharaldson Prop. Mgmt., Inc., 695 F.Supp.2d 824, 831 (N.D. Ill. 2010) ("In Illinois a hotel owes the duty of care to its guests that possessors of land do to business invitees."). This special relationship "imposes on an innkeeper a duty to exercise 'ordinary' care in protecting its guests from injury, and does not impose a 'heightened' duty to ...


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