from the Circuit Court of Johnson County. No. 15-L-3
Honorable Joseph Jackson, Judge, presiding.
Attorney for Appellant Tyler N. Dihle, Prince Law Firm, 404
North Monroe, P.O. Box 1050, Marion, IL 62959
Attorneys for Appellees Charles E. Schmidt, Phillip G. Palmer
Jr., Brandon & Schmidt, 916 West Main Street, P.O. Box
3898, Carbondale, IL 62902
JUSTICE CATES delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Barberis and Justice Moore
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
HONORABLE JUDY L. CATES, JUSTICE.
1 Plaintiff, Paulette Crosson, sought damages from
defendants, Bob Ruzich and Pam Ruzich, for personal injuries
sustained after she fell while on defendants' property.
The circuit court entered summary judgment in favor of
defendants on plaintiff's negligence claim and dismissed
plaintiff's claim alleging defendants violated the Animal
Control Act (Act) (510 ILCS 5/16 (West 2012)). Plaintiff
appeals from the circuit court's orders. We affirm.
2 In 2012, plaintiff was a certified nursing assistant,
providing home health care services. In August and September
2012, plaintiff provided home health care to Pam Ruzich's
grandmother, who resided at defendants' home. Plaintiff
visited defendants' home to provide health care services
on eight occasions, each time entering and exiting the home
through the front entrance. Plaintiff accessed the front door
by walking up several stairs leading to a front porch. The
top stair was level with the porch floor.
3 While plaintiff was caring for Pam's grandmother,
plaintiff and Pam became friends. During the fall of 2012,
plaintiff made two social visits to defendants' home,
each time accessing the home by walking up the front stairs,
onto the porch, and into defendants' home.
4 On March 19, 2013, plaintiff was a guest at defendants'
home. As she had done on prior occasions, plaintiff walked up
the stairs leading to the porch and entered defendants'
home. Plaintiff stayed for a short while and then exited the
house. When plaintiff exited the home, while standing on the
top step of the porch stairs, defendants' dog, Moxie,
approached plaintiff and stood to plaintiffs left. Plaintiff
then began petting Moxie. In her deposition, plaintiff
described what happened next as follows:
"Q. Moxie didn't push you off the porch, did she?
A. She did not push me. No.
Q. So while you were petting Moxie, looking away from the
house, what happened?
A. Well, I just moved my foot over. I mean I don't know.
I was on the edge just to get my balance a little more and it
started to go off the edge.
Q. Okay. Your foot went off the edge?
A. A little bit. Yes.
Q. Okay. I see. So you took a little bit of a step to keep
your balance and in the course of doing that your foot went
off the edge?
Q. Nothing about the condition of the porch caused you to
lose your ...