December 29, 2017

In a major victory for client C3 Presents, LLC, Much Shelist recently secured an affirmation of summary judgment that resulted in a first-of-its-kind opinion. The decision analyzes hornbook premises liability law in the context of an outdoor concert event.

C3, an Austin, Texas-based company that is the owner, promotor and operator of Chicago's annual Lollapalooza festival, was involved in a negligence dispute after an attendee suffered a slip-and-fall injury at the 2011 event. August 2011 saw unprecedented rainfall throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. The plaintiff slipped in a large puddle of mud as she was exiting the concert grounds heading west toward Michigan Avenue, resulting in a trimalleolar fracture that required surgical repair and ultimately hardware in the ankle. She asserted that 1) C3 owed her duty of care to protect her from all hazardous conditions, 2) C3 failed to warn her of hazardous conditions and 3) C3 failed to properly illuminate the concert event so that she could see all hazardous conditions. Judge James O'Hara of the Circuit Court of Cook County granted summary judgment in favor of C3, finding that "… there [is] nothing unreasonably dangerous about the existence of mud at an outdoor concert." O'Hara also cited deposition testimony of the plaintiff, wherein she admitted that she was not sure what caused her to fall. This deposition testimony prevented the plaintiff from arguing that a question of fact existed as to whether the concert was properly illuminated.

Jim Wideikis, principal in Much Shelist's Litigation & Dispute Resolution group, successfully upheld the summary judgment on appeal in the Illinois Appellate Court, First District. The court issued its decision in an Illinois Supreme Court Rule 23 opinion, preventing it from qualifying as citable precedent and therefore having no precedential value.

Wideikis then partnered with Jonathan Loew, principal in the firm's Litigation & Dispute Resolution group, to move to publish the opinion under a Supreme Court Rule 23 provision. The appellate court granted the motion to publish on December 7, 2017, thereby making the decision citable precedent.

"We are thrilled to achieve such a positive result for C3 Presents and recognize the significant implications of this case," said Wideikis. "Concert organizers, promoters and related businesses may now be able to prevent similar types of lawsuits because there is a cogent published opinion analyzing hornbook premises liability law in the context of an outdoor concert event."

The full opinion for Rozowicz v. C3 Presents, LLC is available online. An article about the case is also available on the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin website.