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St. Martin v. First Hospitality Group, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

May 1, 2014

CHARLES L. ST. MARTIN, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
FIRST HOSPITALITY GROUP, INC., d/b/a Hilton Chicago/Indian Lake Resort, Defendant-Appellee

Page 1222

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Du Page County. No. 11-L-632. Honorable Patrick J. Leston, Judge, Presiding.

Affirmed.

SYLLABUS

In an action for the injuries plaintiff suffered when he tripped on a defect in a sidewalk at the entrance to defendant's hotel, the trial court properly entered summary judgment for the hotel based on the de minimis rule, under which there is no duty to repair de minimis defects in sidewalks, notwithstanding defendant's contention that the rule should not be applied because the defect was near the hotel's door and that there were questions of fact about other aggravating factors.

Thomas J. Manzella and William J. Rock, both of Block, Klukas & Manzella, P.C., of Joliet, for appellant.

Melissa A. Murphy-Petros and William S. Cook, both of Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, LLP, of Chicago, for appellee.

JUSTICE HUDSON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices McLaren and Jorgensen concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

HUDSON, JUSTICE

Page 1223

[¶1] Plaintiff, Charles L. St. Martin, appeals the trial court's summary judgment for defendant, First Hospitality Group, Inc. Plaintiff alleged that he was injured when he tripped and fell on an uneven portion of sidewalk outside of a hotel owned by defendant. The trial court determined that defendant did not owe plaintiff a duty of care, because the defect was de minimis . We affirm.

[¶2] I. BACKGROUND

[¶3] On January 19, 2011, plaintiff filed a complaint seeking damages for injuries he sustained when he fell outside of the entryway to defendant's hotel. Plaintiff alleged that, on May 10, 2010, he tripped over an uneven surface as he approached the hotel's entryway at approximately 9 p.m. He alleged that the area had poor lighting, but he did not make any other allegations about the nature of the area or how much foot traffic was present.

[¶4] At his deposition, plaintiff testified that, on the day of the fall, he was attending a seminar at the hotel. He went outside to smoke a cigarette at some benches 10 to 12 feet from the hotel, where there was also an ashtray. When he returned, he tripped over uneven slabs of concrete a couple of feet away from one of the doors at the ...


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