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Chicago, IL 60601
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SmithAmundsen partners, Jamie Lane and Mike Resis, recently secured an order of summary judgment on a paraplegic fall that was affirmed by the Illinois appellate court and plaintiff’s petition for leave to appeal was denied by the Illinois Supreme Court. On November 2, 2010, the plaintiff, a semi-retired practicing physician, was a guest at a condominium trust’s building. While exiting through the building’s rear door, plaintiff fell and sustained injuries that resulted in his becoming a paraplegic. The fall was unwitnessed and the plaintiff had no memory of the fall. After receiving the motion for summary judgment, plaintiff named three expert witnesses in support of their case. Plaintiff’s primary theory was that the building code is written to prevent falls, allow ample time to exit through a doorway and decrease the chance for doors to push pedestrians through doorways. The experts opined that the unreasonably dangerous threshold and unreasonably dangerous door and closure system more likely than not caused the plaintiff to fall. The trial court and appellate court agreed with the defense that the mere happening of an accident doesn’t entitle a plaintiff to recover. A plaintiff must come forward with evidence of negligence on the part of the defendant and with evidence that the defendant’s negligence was a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Proximate cause can only be established when there is a reasonable certainty that the defendant’s acts caused the injury. Plaintiff couldn’t meet that burden and their retained experts’ opinions were speculative and not considered.