United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
RONALD A. GUZMÁN United States District Judge
Court grants Defendants' motion for summary judgment
. Civil case terminated.
case concerns claims of premises liability and loss of
consortium related to plaintiff Gary Belot's
(“Plaintiff”) trip and fall at Lifetime Fitness, a
gym owned and operated by LTF Club Operations Company, Inc.
the summer of 2013, Plaintiff received a guest pass to
Lifetime Fitness in the mail. (Defs.' Facts [Dkt. # 35]
¶ 12.) The pass came with certain restrictions, however:
by its plain terms (written on the back of the pass), it
required guests to present a photo ID and take a
“Center Tour with [a] Member Engagement Advisor”
before gaining access to the gym. (See Id. ¶
14, Ex. D.) Nonetheless, on July 25, 2013, Plaintiff
took it upon himself to enter the gym and explore on his own.
(Id. ¶ 18.) Although there was no one at the
front desk when he first entered, Plaintiff waited there only
three minutes, after which he went to the locker room,
without presenting a photo ID or taking a tour with a
membership consultant, and indeed without even notifying
any gym employee of his presence. (Id.;
Pl.'s Dep. [Dkt # 35, Ex. C] 50:19-51:2.)Shortly
thereafter, while trying to get on an elliptical machine, he
tripped and fell over a set of electrical cords and conduits
that were on the floor, (Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' Facts
[Dkt. # 36] at ¶¶ 9-10), which he claims to have
caused permanent injuries, (Compl. [Dkt. # 1-1] at 3).
Defendants now move for summary judgment on both of
Plaintiff's claims: negligence/premises liability (Count
I) and loss of consortium (Count II).
judgment is appropriate where the admissible evidence shows
that no genuine dispute exists as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). “A ‘material
fact' is one identified by the substantive law as
affecting the outcome of the suit.” Bunn v. Khoury
Enters., Inc., 753 F.3d 676, 681 (7th Cir. 2014) (citing
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986)). “A ‘genuine issue' exists with
respect to any such material fact, and summary judgment is
therefore inappropriate, when ‘the evidence is such
that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.'” Bunn, 753 F.3d at
681-82 (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248).
Conversely, “where the factual record taken as a whole
could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for
the nonmoving party, there is nothing for a jury to
do.” Id. at 682 (citing Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587
(1986) (emphasis in original)). In determining whether a
genuine issue of material fact exists, the court construes
the evidence and all inferences that reasonably can be drawn
therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
Id. (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255).
Count I - Negligence/Premises Liability
succeed on a claim for negligence in Illinois, “the
plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed a duty, that the
defendant breached that duty, and that the defendant's
breach was the proximate cause of injury to the
plaintiff.” Am Nat'l Bank & Trust Co. of
Chi. v. Nat'l Adver. Co., 594 N.E.2d 313, 318 (Ill.
1992). In that respect, Defendants argue that there was
either no breach, since the cord and conduit were open and
obvious, or that there was no duty of reasonable care, given
that Plaintiff was a trespasser. Because the Court finds that
Plaintiff was indeed a trespasser when he fell, it will
confine its discussion to that issue only.
Plaintiff's Status as a Trespasser
Illinois law, the duty a landowner owes to a person on the
land depends upon that person's status, such as invitee
or trespasser. Rhodes v. Ill. Cent. Gulf R.R.,
665 N.E.2d 1260, 1268 (Ill. 1996). This is a question of law
where, as here, the pertinent facts are not disputed.
Basham v. Hunt, 773 N.E.2d 1213, 1224 (Ill.App.Ct.
2002). “A person is an invitee if (1) he enters the
premises of another by express or implied invitation; (2) his
entry is connected with the owner's business or with an
activity the owner conducts or permits to be conducted on his
land; and (3) there is a mutuality of benefit or a
benefit to the owner.” Blakely v. Camp
Ondessonk, 38 F.3d 325, 327-28 (7th Cir. 1994) (citation
omitted). “A trespasser is a person who enters the
premises without permission, invitation or other right, and
intrudes for some purpose of his own, or at his convenience,
or merely as an idler.” Id. (citation
omitted). Importantly, a person's status is determined at
the time of injury, not entry. Roland, 945 F.2d at
959. (citation omitted).
first blush, Plaintiff was arguably an invitee when he
entered the gym: he received a guest pass in the mail, which
was an express invitation, and the purpose of that invitation
was ultimately to enroll him as a gym member, which is
directly related to Defendants' business. But invitees
may nonetheless lose their status and become trespassers
when, after being invited onto the premises, they go to an
area beyond the scope of an invitation or otherwise deviate
from conditions of that invitation. See Cockrell v.
Koppers Indus., Inc.,667 N.E.2d 676, 680 (Ill.App.Ct.
1996); Rodriguez v. Norfolk & W. Ry. Co., 593
N.E.2d 597, 611 (Ill.App.Ct. 1992); see also Orthmann v.
Apple River Campground, Inc., 757 F.2d 909, 912 (7th
Cir. 1985) (“[T]he mere fact that you invite people
onto your property for a fee does not make them business