United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division.
DER-YEGHIAYAN, United States District Judge
matter is before the court on Defendant United States of
America’s motion for summary judgment. For the reasons
stated below, the motion for summary judgment is granted.
August 10, 2012, Plaintiff Jerome Karp (Karp) allegedly
entered a post office in Chicago, Illinois (Post Office).
Karp allegedly mailed a package, left the Post Office, and
then reentered the Post Office to mail a letter. Karp
contends that the edge of a floor Runner (Runner) inside the
Post Office was not properly held down and that, as a result,
he tripped and fell, injuring himself (Accident). Karp
brought the instant action and included in his complaint a
negligence claim and a premise’s liability claim
brought pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C.
§ 2671 et seq. Defendant now moves for summary
judgment on both claims.
judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party, reveals that there is
no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c); Smith v. Hope School, 560 F.3d 694, 699 (7th
Cir. 2009). A “genuine issue” in the context of a
motion for summary judgment is not simply a
“metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.”
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue
of material fact exists when “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 (1986); Insolia v. Phillip Morris,
Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 599 (7th Cir. 2000). In ruling on a
motion for summary judgment, the court must consider the
record as a whole, in a light most favorable to the
non-moving party, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor
of the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255;
Bay v. Cassens Transport Co., 212 F.3d 969, 972 (7th
argues that the record fails to demonstrate any negligence on
its part. A plaintiff bringing a negligence claim under
Illinois law must establish: (1) the “existence of a
duty owed by the defendant to the plaintiff, ” (2)
“a breach of that duty, ” and (3) an
“injury proximately resulting from the breach.”
Bruns v. City of Centralia, 21 N.E.3d 684, 688 (Ill.
2014). Defendant contends that there is no evidence that the
Runner was negligently placed or maintained. Karp argues that
the Runner needed to be taped to the floor and that, without
such tape, it presented a dangerous situation.
contends that this case is similar to Wind v. Hy-Vee Food
Stores, Inc., 650 N.E.2d 258 (Ill.App.Ct. 1995). (Resp.
SJ 4). In Wind, the plaintiff alleged that the floor
mats in question were poorly maintained and were not repaired
or removed when appropriate. Id. at 263. Karp,
however, has not presented any evidence showing that the
Runner had been damaged or needed repair at the time of the
Accident. Nor has Karp pointed to any evidence showing that
Post Office personnel failed to regularly maintain the Runner
and other mats in the Post Office or remove them when needed.
Karp has presented photographs (Photos) from surveillance
videos at the Post Office as evidence in this case and such
Photos do not indicate that the Runner was damaged or in
disrepair in any way. The Photos show that the Runner lied
flat on the floor.
also contends that this case is similar to Caburnay v.
Norwegian Am. Hosp., 963 N.E.2d 1021 (Ill.App.Ct. 2011).
(Resp. SJ 4). Karp is correct that some of the facts in
Caburnay are similar to the facts in this case. In
Caburnay, the plaintiff tripped on a fold in a floor
mat. Id. at 1023. The plaintiff argued that the
floor mat was “prone to buckling” and should have
been taped to the floor. Id. at 1031-32. Similarly
in this case, Karp claims to have tripped on the Runner,
which he contends was prone to movement and buckling and
should have been taped to the floor. However, in
Caburnay there was sufficient evidence presented at
the summary judgment stage to support the plaintiff’s
theory that the floor mat was prone to buckling. Id.
The plaintiff himself gave testimony as to his sensory
perceptions at the time of the accident that supported his
opinions. Id. at 1026-30. In addition, there was
testimony from a manager of housekeeping, and testimony from
another employee who worked in the same area supporting the
plaintiff’s contention that the floor mat regularly
buckled. Id. at 1026, 1032. The plaintiff also
presented evidence from an expert witness supporting the
plaintiff’s theory that the floor mat was prone to
buckling and should have been taped to the floor.
Id. at 1032-33.
in Caburnay, Karp has failed to point to sufficient
evidence to support his theory in this case. While this court
does not weigh the evidence at the summary judgment stage,
Karp is required to point to sufficient evidence before he
can proceed to trial. Insolia, 216 F.3d at 599.
Karp’s deposition testimony indicates that he did not
take any notice of the Runner prior to the Accident and that
he was so distracted with his injuries that he did not take
any notice of the Runner after the Accident. (K. Dep. 15-20).
Karp thus cannot supply any first-hand observations in regard
to the Runner. Nor has Karp presented any expert witness or
other witnesses that observed the Runner to support his
theory. Defendant contends that the Runner had rubber
backing, which would indicate that it would be resistant to
movement and buckling. (SF Par. 1). In response Karp states
that he “disagrees with Defendant in that [Karp] does
not know if the rug had a rubber backing.” (R SF Par.
1). Karp, however, fails to cite any evidence to support his
denial of such a fact. (R SF Par. 1). Thus, pursuant to Local
Rule 56.1, it is deemed undisputed that the Runner had rubber
backing. Karp asserts that the “physical nature of the
[Runner] remains at issue. . . .” (Resp. 7). However,
it was incumbent on Karp to gather the needed evidence
concerning the Runner during discovery and point to evidence
to support his position. Karp cannot proceed to trial and ask
the trier of fact to speculate.
the court accepted Karp’s speculation that the Runner
may not have had rubber backing, he fails to show negligence
on the part of Defendant. Karp points at the Photos, which he
asserts show that one patron (Patron) at the Post Office
disturbed the edge of the Runner when walking over it. Karp
contends that such evidence shows that the Runner was prone
to buckling and movement on the floor. Karp contends that an
Accident Report indicated the Runner was wet and damp. (SAF
Par. 11). Karp admits though that there was no water on the
floor at the time of the Accident. (R SF Par. 7). Even when
giving Karp the benefit of the doubt that the Photos show
that the Patron moved the edge of the Runner, any such
movement was extremely minimal. The Photos do not show that
the Patron disturbed the Runner in a fashion that would
indicate to a reasonable trier of fact that the Runner
presented a dangerous condition or that Defendant breached a
duty of care. (DE 13-4). Karp also points to the Photos,
which he contends show buckling in the Runner and that the
Runner moved and folded when he fell. (DE 13-2); (DE 13-3).
Even when accepting Karp’s opinion that the Photos show
any such circumstances, they fall far short of indicating
that the Runner presented a dangerous condition. See
Johnson v. United States, 1999 WL 446694, at *4 (N.D.
Ill. 1999)(concluding that the photos presented by the
plaintiff did “not demonstrate negligent placement
because they d[id] not show defects in the mats or negligent
placement of the mats”). The court has considered all
the evidence in its totality pointed to by Karp and it falls
far short of the evidence that would enable a reasonable
trier of fact to hold Defendant liable for negligence.
See Id. at *3 (concluding that the plaintiff failed
to provide sufficient “evidence that the mat, which
Plaintiff tripped on, was negligently placed on the
floor” to defeat the defendant’s motion for
summary judgment). Karp cannot proceed to trial and ask the
trier of fact to speculate that the Runner presented a
dangerous condition. Therefore, Defendant’s motion for
summary judgment on the negligence claim is granted.