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Vertin v. Mau

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

April 10, 2014

LINDSEY VERTIN, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
ROBERT J. MAU, JR., Defendant-Appellee

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit Will County, Illinois. Circuit No. 12-L-366. Honorable Michael J. Powers, Judge, Presiding.

Affirmed.

SYLLABUS

The entry of summary judgment for defendant was upheld in plaintiff's action for the injuries she suffered when she fell down the stairs at defendant's house, notwithstanding the testimony of plaintiff's expert in building safety and stairway use that the stairs had several building code violations, since the expert's testimony was insufficient to establish any genuine issues of material fact in the absence of any evidence as to what caused plaintiff to fall.

Thomas M. Paris (argued), of Chicago, for appellant.

Wade T. Shimer (argued), of Wunderlich Law Office, of Joliet, for appellee.

PRESIDING JUSTICE LYTTON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Carter and McDade concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

LYTTON, PRESIDING JUSTICE.

Page 659

[¶1] Plaintiff, Lindsey Vertin, appeals from an order of the circuit court granting summary judgment to defendant, Robert J. Mau, Jr., in a negligence action for injures she sustained when she slipped and fell on Mau's stairs. On appeal, she claims that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment because the evidence created questions for the jury as to whether the defects in the stairway were a proximate cause of her fall. We affirm.

[¶2] On January 21, 2011, Vertin was a guest in Mau's home. As she walked down an interior staircase leading from the upstairs bedroom to the main floor, she slipped and fell. She filed a single-count complaint against defendant, alleging that

Page 660

his failure to properly maintain the stairs caused her injury.

[¶3] In her deposition testimony, Vertin stated that the incident occurred between 11:45 p.m. and 12:15 a.m. She was upstairs with Mau, and they were getting ready to go to bed. She needed to use the bathroom, so she headed downstairs. As she walked down the stairs, she fell. Vertin testified that she was wearing socks and that all of the lights in the house were off except for the television light. She fell down the stairs from the second step down. Vertin stated that she " stepped down from the first step to the second step and tripped." She did not know why she fell. She could not recall feeling anything give way that would have caused her to lose her balance. She did not know if the carpet was loose or if any of the steps were insecure. When she fell, she hit the wall and broke her left elbow. Vertin testified that she had been up and down Mau's stairs " probably ...


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