Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, First Division
from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 2013 L 5947
Honorable James N. O'Hara, Judge presiding.
JUSTICE SIMON delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Harris and Connors concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 Plaintiff, Magdalena Rozowicz, filed a negligence action
against defendant C3 Presents, LLC (C3), stemming from a slip
and fall injury she suffered at the 2011 Lollapalooza music
festival at Grant Park in Chicago. The circuit court granted
summary judgment in favor of C3. On appeal, plaintiff argues
genuine issues of material fact preclude summary judgment in
favor of C3. For the following reasons, we affirm.
2 In 2008, C3 contracted with the Chicago Park District to
lease Grant Park for the purpose of holding the annual
Lollapalooza music festival, to be held on August 5, 2011,
through August 7, 2011. The lease provided, inter
alia, that C3 was responsible to "take all actions
necessary to ensure the safety of Festival attendees."
3 In 2011, plaintiff filed a first-amended complaint
asserting two counts of negligence against C3. She sought
damages for injuries she suffered as a result of slipping and
falling while trying to exit the Lollapalooza concert
grounds. Plaintiff alleged various failures by C3 including,
inter alia, failure to properly illuminate concert
grounds and exits, place mats over slippery areas of the
concert grounds and exits, manage the concert crowd, provide
safe egress from the concert grounds, and cancel the music
4 C3 moved for summary judgment, arguing it did not owe
plaintiff a duty of care where she slipped on mud, the mud
did not present an unreasonable risk of harm, C3 did not have
notice of an allegedly dangerous condition, and the mud was
an open and obvious condition. Plaintiff responded that C3
owed her a duty of care to protect her from hazardous
conditions on the concert grounds and to provide a safe means
of egress from the venue. She asserted her injury was
foreseeable as C3 created an unreasonable risk of harm when
it forced her to exit the grounds uphill, through
overcrowded, poorly lit, and tree-filled terrain; the
dangerous condition of which was exacerbated by the mud. The
parties supported their positions with depositions and
5 Plaintiff testified in her deposition that, on August 7,
2011, around 12:00 p.m., she arrived at the Lollapalooza
festival with friends Angelica and Sylvia Dziadowiec.
Plaintiff was at the festival for seven to eight hours.
Sometime between 8 and 9 p.m., after the sun had gone down,
Rozowicz and her two friends began to walk in a southwesterly
direction from the Butler Field area toward an exit. She
walked shoulder to shoulder with the crowd to the exit,
following the crowd because, although she could not see an
exit, she "knew" one was in that direction.
Plaintiff observed, with respect to the concert grounds, that
"[i]t was raining for many hours. It was mud everywhere.
It was slippery." It had been difficult to walk around
between the stages because of the mud and lighting. The mud
was very deep as she walked west, and she saw people fall
"everywhere" around her due to the mud. Plaintiff
took a few steps up a hill and her right foot slipped on the
mud. She fell and could not stand. Her ankle was broken, and
she later had surgery to repair it.
6 Plaintiff testified that it was muddy, dark, and crowded as
she walked to the exit but nothing "other than the
mud" caused her to fall. She knew it was muddy and
slippery and was looking down at her feet when she slipped.
Before plaintiff fell, she was being bumped by people in the
exiting crowd, it was dark, she could not see the sidewalks,
and did not know whether she was walking on grass or
concrete. She tried to walk cautiously and was distracted by
the loud music, but no one pushed her and nothing other than
the mud caused her to fall. She was wearing flip-flops when
7 Sylvia Dziadowiec testified in her deposition that, while
exiting the festival, she heard plaintiff call out her name
and noticed that she had fallen. When plaintiff could not get
up, Sylvia went to get help. Before plaintiff fell, Sylvia
observed 20 people slip and fall throughout the day because
of the mud and rain. She testified that she, plaintiff, and
Angelica did not take an alternate route to the exit because
turning back against the crowd would seem
"unnatural" and dangerous. They were walking slowly
and carefully because of the three- to four-inch deep mud.
They had been "slipping" on the mud throughout the
day. She testified that she never saw a staircase near where
8 Dirk Stalnecker, C3's production director for the 2011
Lollapalooza festival, testified in his deposition that he
was responsible for layout and coordination of festivals. C3
was responsible for determining entrances and exits for the
festival. Stalnecker testified that there was a set of
illuminated concrete steps located in the western area of
Butler Field, near where plaintiff alleged she fell, that
would lead to a concrete pathway and to the north exit of the
venue. He marked this lit area on a map of Butler Field at
his deposition. He also marked the tree-lined area where
plaintiff fell as an intended exit from the concert grounds.
He explained the area was "[n]ot specifically an
exit" but, rather, was a landscaped area free of
obstruction or fencing "to allow people to walk
9 The trial court granted summary judgment in C3's favor
relying on the Restatement (Second) of Torts, section 343.
Restatement (Second) of Torts § 343 (1965). It found
plaintiff's deposition showed "only the mud"
caused her to fall and the mud did not give rise to a duty
from C3 to plaintiff. It found that there was nothing
unreasonably dangerous about the existence of mud at an
outdoor concert and C3 could reasonably expect a concert
patron to discover any normal risk. The court further found
C3 provided a safe means of egress by way of a concrete path,
which lead directly to an exit.
10 On appeal, plaintiff argues C3 owed her a duty of care to
provide a safe egress from the concert grounds but, instead,
created an unreasonable risk of harm by forcing her to exit
over a crowded incline that was poorly lit and covered in
trees, the dangerous condition of which was exacerbated by
the mud. She also argues both the deliberate encounter and
distraction exceptions to the open and obvious doctrine
apply, thus weighing in favor of finding a duty of care.
Finally she argues C3 breached the duty owed to her and the
condition of concert grounds was the proximate cause of her
11 Summary judgment is proper when the pleadings,
depositions, affidavits, and admissions on file, when viewed
in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, show that
there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Mashal
v. City of Chicago, 2012 IL 112341, ¶ 49. Summary
judgment is inappropriate when material facts are disputed,
reasonable persons could draw different inferences from the
undisputed facts, or reasonable persons could weigh the
factors relevant to the legal standard at issue differently.
Seymour v. Collins, 2015 IL 118432, ¶ 42. As
summary judgment is a drastic means of disposing of
litigation, it should only be granted when the moving
party's right to ...