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Wells v. Colonial Heights Recreation Center, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division

February 8, 2013

THERESE C. WELLS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
COLONIAL HEIGHTS RECREATION CENTER, INC., and ERICKSON CONDOMINIUM MANAGEMENT COMPANY, Defendants-Appellees.

Rule 23 Order filed: November 30, 2012

Rule 23 Order withdrawn: January 30, 2013

Held: [*]

Plaintiff’s complaint stated a cause of action for negligence based on defendants’ failure to properly maintain the ladder in the swimming pool of plaintiff’s condominium development where she was injured when she slipped and fell while exiting the pool, and summary judgment was improperly entered for defendants, since the evidence was sufficient to raise a question of material fact, and therefore, the cause was remanded for further proceedings.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 08-L-000699; the Hon. Marcia Maras, Judge, presiding.

Dwyer, McCarthy & Associates, Ltd., of Chicago (Patrick E. Dwyer III and James E. Coogan, of counsel), for appellant.

Querrey & Harrow, Ltd., of Chicago (Ernie Burden and Emily Widmer, of counsel), for appellees.

Justices Gordon and Reyes [*] concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

LAMPKIN, PRESIDING JUSTICE

¶ 1 Plaintiff, Therese Wells, appeals the trial court's order granting summary judgment in favor of defendants, Colonial Heights Recreation Center, Inc. (CHRC), and Erickson Condominium Management Company (Erickson). Plaintiff contends the trial court erred in granting summary judgment where there were genuine issues of material fact regarding defendants' negligence. Based on the following, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.

¶ 2 FACTS

¶ 3 Plaintiff sustained injuries while climbing out of a swimming pool maintained and managed by defendants. On July 4, 2006, in an attempt to exit the deep end of the pool located in her condominium complex, plaintiff placed her left foot on the bottom rung of an affixed ladder and, as she tried to place her right foot on the ladder, her right foot slipped and her leg became wedged between the ladder and the pool wall. Plaintiff reported the incident to Erickson, the company retained by CHRC to provide day-to-day management services of the pool grounds and common areas of the condominium complex.

¶ 4 On July 1, 2008, plaintiff filed an amended complaint against defendants claiming that, despite the duty owed to plaintiff as a condominium owner and user of the pool, they: (1) "failed to provide a good, safe, and proper place for the Plaintiff to use, occupy, and exit the swimming pool"; (2) "negligently failed to repair the broken pool ladder"; (3) "failed to post a warning to inform pool users of the broken ladder"; (4) "failed to have a continuous and uninterrupted means of egress from the pool"; (5) "failed to maintain the pool ladder in a safe condition"; and (6) "failed to cordon off the broken ladder to prevent pool users from climbing the ladder in a broken and dangerous condition." Plaintiff's amended complaint further alleged that "as a direct and proximate result of one or more of these negligent acts and/or omissions" plaintiff fell and was injured, resulting in damages. In her pleadings, plaintiff identified the defect to be "the slipperiness and instability of the ladder." Defendants filed answers and affirmative defenses.

ΒΆ 5 On October 14, 2008, plaintiff filed answers to interrogatories in which she stated, in relevant part, that she learned after the accident that the pool ladder was broken and not properly affixed and that the "grit" on the ladder steps had been worn down, making the steps smooth. Plaintiff additionally stated that, after the accident, she learned from Ruth Grotzke, the president of the condominium association, that the ladder had ...


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