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ARTICLE ID 185740

$________ – CONSTRUCTION SITE NEGLIGENCE – NEGLIGENT REMOVAL AND FAILURE TO WARN OF MISSING STAIRCASE – POLICE CHIEF FALLS DOWN EMPTY STAIRWELL WHILE SETTING UP TRAINING EXERCISE IN ABANDONED SCHOOL – T8, T10, AND T12 SPINE FRACTURES – MULTIPLE RIB FRACTURES – ROTATOR CUFF TEAR – SKULL FRACTURE – TEMPORARY BRAIN INJURY.

Champaign County, IL

In this negligence action, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant preservation association was negligent in removing the staircase at an abandoned school and failing to post notices or otherwise warn others that the door led to a drop onto the cement floor below. The plaintiff was setting up a training course in the building, unaware of the removal of the staircase by the defendant and fell through the hole left from the removal of the staircase sustaining serious injuries. The defendant denied the allegations, impleaded the city as a third party and alleged that it was not advised that the building, which was abandoned, was being used by the police department for training purposes.

On September 11, ________, the defendant, a preservation and conservation association, was salvaging certain architectural structures from the old North Ward School in the city of Tuscola. The defendant is a preservation group that attempts to recover unique items of architectural or historical significance, such as old doors or crown molding, from buildings, schools and churches that are going to be demolished. After acquiring permission from the plaintiff’s employer, the City, it removed a wrought iron circular staircase that led from the gym to the boys’ locker room. The defendant failed to remove the door from the staircase.

On September 30, ________, the 47-year-old male plaintiff, the City police chief, was setting up a training exercise in the gym. The police and fire departments were using the abandoned school for training programs. The plaintiff went to push open the door to the staircase which had been removed and fell approximately 15 feet to the first floor which was littered with the removed iron stairs from the staircase.

As a result of the incident, the plaintiff sustained fractures to his back at T8, T10 and T12, as well as multiple rib fractures requiring an extended hospitalization and physical rehabilitation. The plaintiff also sustained a left clavicle separation, a torn rotator cuff, a bicep tear and an inner ear injury. The plaintiff required multiple surgeries for the injuries sustained. The plaintiff also struck his head on the cement floor, sustaining a skull fracture and temporary traumatic brain injury.

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant alleging negligence in failing to notice others that the stairwell had been removed or removed the door so people such as the plaintiff did not walk through the door, expecting stairs which were not there. The defendant denied the allegations and filed a third party complaint against the city from which it had received permission to remove the staircase.The matter was tried over a period of one week. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury deliberated for three hours and returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The jury allocated liability at 70% to the defendant and 30% to the third party defendant, the City of Tuscola. The jury awarded damages totaling $________ which consisted of $________ for pain and suffering; $________ for loss of normal life; $________ for medical bills and $________ for lost wages. The jury also awarded the plaintiff’s wife the sum of $________ for loss of consortium.

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