In Illinois, a business has a duty to its customers to maintain its premises in a reasonably safe condition to avoid injuring them. However, an owner or occupier of land is cheap viagra from uk not an absolute insurer of the safety of an invitee, but owes a duty of reasonable care under the circumstances regarding the state of the premises “to avoid creating an unreasonable risk of harm to an invitee”. Sidewalk
imperfections surrounding commercial and residential areas have sparked lawsuits for generations. The Northern District of Illinois recently addressed the “de minimus” rule which applies to trip and fall accidents.
Under the de minimis exception, a business will not be liable where a sidewalk deviation is only slight; a business has no duty to protect against such small defects. So, what makes a defect slight? A federal judge recently addressed this issue in Schnur v. Kohl’s Dept. Stores, Inc. In Schnur, a customer sustained injuries after he tripped while walking down a handicapped ramp at the store’s entrance because of a one-inch elevation where the incline reached the sidewalk. In Illinois, absent aggravating factors, defects with a height differential of less than two inches trigger the de minimis rule and are not actionable.
In this case, the Plaintiff estimated that the differential was more than an inch, but he couldn’t say whether it was two inches or more. A defense witness testified that the height differential could not have been more than a quarter inch. Without any evidence that the differential was greater than two inches, this would seem to fall under the de minimis exception; however, as the court discussed, the location of a defect can be an aggravating circumstance taking the deviation outside of any de
minimus classification. The court found the defect being located at the store’s entrance on the top of a handicapped ramp was a sufficient aggravating circumstance such that the de minimus rule did not apply.
The court found that Kohl’s owed Plaintiff a duty, but it will be up to the trier of fact to determine if that duty was breached.