Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division
from the Circuit Court Cook County. No. 17 L 7543 Honorable
James N. O'Hara and Jeffrey Lawrence, Judges Presiding.
JUSTICE DELORT delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justice Cunningham concurred in the judgment and
1 Plaintiff Frank Barnai sued Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
(Wal-Mart), International Contractors, Inc. (ICI), and Nuline
Technologies, Inc. (Nuline), after he was injured while
working at a Wal-Mart store construction site. Wal-Mart, ICI,
and Nuline, in turn, filed contribution claims against
Barnai's employer, Summit Fire Protection Company
(Summit), which they then assigned to Barnai as part of a
global settlement agreement. Barnai then dismissed
Nuline's contribution claim, and the case proceeded to
trial on Wal-Mart's and ICI's contribution claims
against Summit. The jury was given a verdict form that asked
it to apportion fault only to Summit, Wal-Mart, and ICI. The
jury returned a verdict, finding Summit 52% liable for
Barnai's injuries, and the circuit court entered judgment
on that verdict. Summit appealed. We reverse in part, vacate
in part, and remand with instructions.
3 On October 16, 2007, plaintiff Frank Barnai was injured
while working for Summit at a Wal-Mart store construction
site. Barnai then sued Wal-Mart, the property owner; ICI, the
general contractor; and Nuline, the electrical subcontractor.
Those defendants answered Barnai's complaint and filed
contribution claims against Summit.
4 During the course of the litigation, the court struck
Wal-Mart's and Nuline's answers to Barnai's
complaint and deemed as admitted Barnai's allegations
against those defendants. Barnai eventually settled with
Wal-Mart, ICI, and Nuline for $5, 073, 463.71. Summit did not
contribute to the settlement.
5 Barnai then filed a motion for good faith finding. The
motion recited that Barnai had agreed to settle his claims
against Wal-Mart, ICI, and Nuline in exchange for $5,
073, 463.71 and an assignment of those defendants'
contribution claims against Summit. The motion did not
contain a copy of the settlement agreement, nor indicate how
the settlement proceeds were to be allocated among the
settling defendants. Despite those omissions, and over
Summit's objection, the court entered a good faith
6 The case later proceeded to trial. During the jury
instruction conference, Barnai submitted a proposed verdict
form labeled "IPI 600.16." The verdict form stated:
"We, the jury, apportion responsibility as follows:
Wal-Mart ___ %
International Contractors ___%
Summit Fire Protection Company ...