Partner Brad Alexander Relies on Caselaw from the 1920s-1950s to Secure Summary Judgment

Brad successfully represented the Princeton, IL Moose Lodge in the defense of a case involving a slip and fall at the Lodge’s 2014 Valentine’s Day dinner dance. The plaintiff alleged that the Moose Lodge was negligent by offering of “dance wax” (paraffin impregnated corn meal) which granules were sprinkled near the band stand at the edge of the dance floor. The plaintiff specifically alleged that this activity intentionally created an unusually dangerous condition which caused her to fall while walking on the dance floor, resulting in a femoral neck fracture which required two surgeries with $120K in medical bills. The plaintiff’s deposition testimony was developed to show her familiarity with the use of dance wax as two other locations where the plaintiff enjoyed dancing and her understanding that the product was used to allow dancers’ shoes to glide.

The legal research did not uncover any recent decisions and the 18 page MSJ had to be supported by caselaw from Illinois and foreign jurisdictions handed down from the 1920s-1950s. The numerous cited cases uniformly held that the use of dance wax on a dance floor was not negligence per se – even though a slippery condition was intentionally created by the proprietor; but that a dance floor operator could only be found liable if there was evidence demonstrating that the proprietor was negligent in its selection of the product, or in the manner in which the dance wax was applied to the dance floor.

Shortly after filing the MSJ, plaintiff’s counsel sent a letter to the presiding judge advising that the plaintiff could not “in good faith” file a response brief – and the MSJ was then granted at the scheduled hearing on May 15, 2015.

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