23 order filed September 2, 2016
to publish allowed October 13, 2016
from the Circuit Court of Will County, No. 13-L-355; the Hon.
Michael J. Powers, Judge, presiding.
J. Zayed, of Joliet, for appellant.
Gregory Smith, of Joliet, and Michael D. Bersani, of Hervas,
Condon & Bersani, P.C., of Itasca, for appellee.
JUSTICE CARTER delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices McDade and Schmidt concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 Plaintiff, Kevin Barr, filed a suit for negligent property
maintenance against defendants, Deanna Frausto and the City
of Joliet (City), to recover damages for injuries he
sustained on City property when he stepped into a hole on a
grass-covered parkway and fell. Both defendants filed motions
for summary judgment. After hearings, the trial court granted
the motions. Plaintiff appeals, but only challenges the trial
court's grant of summary judgment for the City. We affirm
the trial court's judgment.
3 In July 2012, plaintiff and his wife went for a morning
walk in Joliet, Will County, Illinois, near their home.
Plaintiff was wearing running shoes, and he and his wife were
walking on the sidewalk at a leisurely pace. A woman who was
walking her dog on the same sidewalk approached from the
opposite direction. Plaintiff and his wife stepped off the
sidewalk and onto the grass-covered parkway (the grassy area
in front of or to the side of a house, between the sidewalk
and the road). The parkway was located to the side of Deanna
Frausto's residence and was owned by the City. While
plaintiff was walking on the parkway, he stepped into a hole,
fell, and injured his knee or leg.
4 In May 2013, plaintiff filed the instant negligent property
maintenance action against Frausto and the City. The
complaint was later amended. During pretrial proceedings,
summary judgment was granted for Frausto after the trial
court found that she did not owe a duty to prevent harm to
others on property owned by the City.
5 After summary judgment was granted for Frausto, the City
filed its own motion for summary judgment. The matter was
fully briefed by the parties in the trial court. Attached to
the parties' filings were various supporting documents,
including several depositions, photographs of the site and of
the hole, and the affidavit of plaintiff's expert
witness. The evidence presented in those supporting documents
can be summarized as follows.
6 Plaintiff testified in his deposition to many of the
background facts set forth above. In addition to those facts,
plaintiff stated that the accident occurred on a Sunday
morning shortly after 7 a.m. The weather was nice that day,
and it was sunny and completely light out. Plaintiff and his
wife walked or rode their bikes on that same route about once
a week when the weather permitted. Plaintiff and his wife had
lived in that area for about six years, and plaintiff was
familiar with the area, although he had never walked on that