Summary Judgment Granted Based On Open & Obvious Doctrine

Stacy D. Fulco

Stacy Fulco represented a warehouse store in Cook County and obtained summary judgment for her client. The plaintiff claimed he tripped and fell over the corner of a pallet that was holding a large display of produce.  The display was multiple pallets long and wide and the produce was held in large boxes that covered the pallets.  The store was known to display most of its product on pallets.  The plaintiff claimed he was distracted by a large crowd of customers at a nearby display table and that caused him to trip and fall.  The plaintiff also claimed he not only tripped, but his foot caught in a hole in the pallet so the pallet was defective.  A photograph of the pallet taken just after the incident was shown to the court and the judge agreed there was no indication of a hole, just a small piece of wood missing from the pallet.  The court ruled the pallet was clearly open and obvious, especially considering the store and the environment, the pallet was not defective and the court did not believe the testimony or evidence supported that the plaintiff was distracted.  Summary judgment was granted for the defendant and no appeal was filed.