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Parking Lot Falls - Recent Appellate Court Decision Raises Questions About Employer-Provided Parking Areas

February 2023

Kendra S. Hook and Ivan Nieves

A recent Illinois Appellate Court Decision may change what is considered an employer “provided” parking area for purposes of compensability for an employee who sustains an injury in a parking area. In the recent case, Western Springs Police Department v. Ill. Workers' Comp. Comm'n, 2023 IL App (1st) 211574WC (“Western Springs”), the Illinois Appellate Court held that an employee who fell on ice and snow in a parking area owned by the municipality, but available for use by the general public, could still recover workers’ compensation benefits despite the fact that there was no greater risk to the employee than the general public.

Uninsured Motorist Insurance Applies To Accident Outside Vehicle

January 2023

Dylan R. Besser

I. Introduction

The First District Appellate Court, in Galarza v. Direct Auto Ins. Co, 2022 IL App. (1st) 211595, recently ruled on a case that required it to interpret Illinois’ public policy as to uninsured motorist (“UM”) insurance coverage and determine whether coverage applies when the insured is acting as a pedestrian and not actively occupying a vehicle. The Appellate Court held that a provision in the defendant insurer’s automobile policy, which limited UM coverage to insureds occupying an “insured automobile,” violates 215 ILCS 5/143a (2020) of the Illinois Insurance Code (“Section 143a”) and, thus, was unenforceable as against public policy. Although insurers are not required to cover every possible loss and may legitimately limit their risks, an insurer may not directly or indirectly deny UM coverage mandated by statute to an insured.

General Contractor Owes Duty of Care Despite Lack of Retained Control

January 2023

Matthew K. Abrams

In Ellis v. ICC Grp., Inc., 2022 IL App (1st) 211581-U, the First District Appellate Court addressed a general contractor’s duties to an employee of a subcontractor who sustaining a spinal injury at a job site.

The Court overturned the lower court’s granting of summary judgment on behalf of a general contractor when it ruled that, under Section 343 relating to “premises liability,” the contractor owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. Of note, the Appellate Court also affirmed that no duty of care was owed under Section 414 (“retained control”) as there was no evidence the contractor retained control of the means and methods of the subcontractor’s work.

The Storm that Never Arrived – An Update on Civil Litigation and COVID-19

January 2023

Robert J. Schwarz

On January 30, 2019, only four short years ago, viral videos of pots of boiling water being tossed into the air and freezing instantly were all the rage as temperatures hit record lows and the “polar vortex” brought life to a halt in northern Illinois. Less than one year later, the COVID-19 virus emerged and brought the entire world to a standstill. The massive impact of the ensuing global pandemic on our society will undoubtedly be felt and debated for many years to come.

As we continue to emerge into this new, post-pandemic world, the courts have begun grappling in earnest with sporadic litigation issues brought about by the ubiquitous virus. Workplace COVID-19 lawsuits include not only employees or contractors alleging they contracted the virus while working at their job site, but also, on rare occasions, so-called “take home” cases. “Take home” COVID-19 cases allege they were infected by a household member that contracted the virus at work.

Employer’s Liability for an Employee’s Auto Accident

June 2022

Emma L. Knowles

Where vicarious liability for its employee’s conduct is admitted by an employer, can that employer also be held directly liable for its own negligence in a separate cause of action, even if its employee’s conduct is not negligent? According to the recently decided Illinois Supreme Court case, McQueen v. Green, 2022 IL 126666, the answer is yes, if there are allegations against the employer which are not rooted in the employee’s conduct.

At its heart, a claim brought under the theory of respondeat superior is a derivative claim, meaning that an employer’s liability flows, or derives, from the conduct of its employee. But what happens when an employer’s conduct is allegedly negligent in a manner that is completely separate from its employee’s conduct? This opinion leaves no doubt that in certain circumstances, Illinois employers will be exposed to additional liability for their own conduct.

Prepping for Winter

June 2022

Catherine L. Carlson

While basking in the summer sunshine, it’s the perfect time to relax by the pool and contemplate all the frozen fun of winter. The Illinois Appellate Court in the Third District recently issued an opinion about the treats that Jack Frost leaves behind.

In the matter of Gore v. Pilot Travel Centers, LLC, the Appellate court affirmed the summary judgment in favor of the defendant premises owner on the basis that plaintiff failed to provide any evidence that defendant’s ice removal efforts created an unnatural accumulation of ice on the sidewalk where he fell. In this case, Plaintiff Gore fell on the sidewalk at a gas station owned by the Defendant, Pilot Travel Centers. The plaintiff introduced evidence that there had been wintery precipitation a few days prior to the incident. On the date of the incident, he alleged that the gas station failed to remove snow and ice from the sidewalk where the plaintiff fell in the afternoon on December 19, 2016, when the temperatures were a chilly 15°F.

  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyers Association
  • IRTB
  • DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar
  • The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Illinois Self-Insurers' Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyers Association
  • IRTB
  • DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar
  • The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Illinois Self-Insurers' Association
10 South LaSalle Street, Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312-425-3131
211 Landmark Drive, Suite C2
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-862-4914
1015 Locust Street, Suite 914
St. Louis, MO 63101
Phone: 314-300-0527
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