CHICAGO — A state appeals panel says a woman can't press her claims a promoter for the Lollapalooza music festival is to blame for a broken ankle she suffered at the event in Chicago six years ago.
Justice John B. Simon issued the decision, upholding the lower court’s summary judgement that cleared the concert promoter, C3 Presents, of any liability for Magdalena Rozowicz's injuries.
Justices Maureen E. Connors and Sheldon A. Harris concurred.
The decision, which was filed on Sept. 5, was an unpublished order issued under Supreme Court Rule 23, which limits its use as precedent.
She had accused C3 Presents of negligence after she slipped and fell during the 2011 Lollapalooza event in Chicago’s Grant Park.
She claimed she was at the festival for nearly eight hours when she and her friends headed toward Butler Field to leave. It allegedly was dark and rainy, and she claimed she slipped and fell on mud. On top of that, she said the crowded area caused other people to bump into her.
Sylvia Dziadowiec, a friend of Rozowicz, said in her deposition that she heard Rozowicz call her name so she went to help when she realized she had fallen and couldn’t get up on her own. She also claimed she saw 20 people slip and fall amid the poor weather conditions.
Dirk Stalnecker, C3 Presents's product director for the 2011 Lollapalooza event, testified that the area where the plaintiff attempted to leave the venue was “not specifically an exit.” Instead, it was an area that “allow[ed] people to walk through.”
The trial court sided with C3 Presents, holding "there was nothing unreasonably dangerous about the existence of mud at an outdoor concert." Rozowicz, however, appealed.
“The plaintiff argues C3 owed her a duty of care to provide a safe egress from the concert grounds, but instead created an unreasonable risk of harm by forcing her to exit over a crowded incline that was poorly lit and covered in trees, the dangerous condition of which was exacerbated by the mud,” Simon said in the decision.
Simon held that Rozowicz had the burden of proving that C3 Presents was responsible for her injury and that her injury was directly caused by “that breach of duty.”
Still, Simon confirmed the trial court’s decision to grant the summary judgement because the muddy conditions were “open and obvious" and that C3 Presents could not be expected to anticipate that Rozowicz would decide to not protect herself from any dangers the muddy conditions posed.
Rozowicz "stated that she was walking 'cautiously,' trying to watch her step before her fall because she 'knew' the ground was 'muddy' and 'slippery.'" Simon said in the decision. "She was therefore not only aware of the obvious slippery condition of the muddy ground, but attempting to protect herself against the risk it posed by walking carefully. Given plaintiff’s testimony, there is no evidence to support that she was 'actually distracted' to the extent that she would not discover or forget she had discovered the obvious slippery, muddy condition."
Rozowicz was represented in the action by attorneys with the Finch Law Group, of Chicago.
C3 was defended by the firm of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, of Chicago.