Exclusa v. Rosenzweig

Exclusa v. Rosenzweig, 2012 L 001094
Verdict: Not Guilty
Trial Date: January 20-26, 2015

Plaintiff, a male in his forties at the time of the accident, was performing his job duties as a City of Chicago Building Inspector when he went to the Defendant’s property to perform an inspection pursuant to demolition court proceedings. The building was dilapidated, boarded-up, and lacked all utilities, and had been in that condition for years. Plaintiff was unable to enter the building through a door because an independent contractor (that settled prior to trial) was unable to cut the lock, and Defendant was not present to open the door. Plaintiff had a board removed from a window a few feet off the ground and proceeded to climb through the window into the building. His foot became caught on the window ledge, and he lost his balance when the independent contractor’s employee dislodged his foot. As he fell, he grasped rebar on or near the window but it broke apart and failed to stop his fall. He landed on his left side, and ultimately underwent a hip replacement surgery which he claimed was caused by the accident. Mr. Olson successfully persuaded the Court to bar any evidence of the underlying demolition court proceeding at trial, limiting Plaintiff’s case to a standard premises liability trial. Defendant argued that he was not negligent because he was not present when the accident occurred, that the Plaintiff was at fault for deciding to enter through a window, that the independent contractor was the sole proximate cause for accident when he dislodged Plaintiff’s foot, and that the Plaintiff’s injuries were not as severe as he claimed, specifically the hip replacement that was performed on a hip joint that was classified as end-stage osteoarthritis. The jury deliberated for approximately three hours before returning a verdict fully in favor of Mr. Olson’s client.