Madrazo v. Michaels, Gen. No. 54405

CourtUnited States Appellate Court of Illinois
Citation1 Ill.App.3d 583,274 N.E.2d 635
Docket NumberGen. No. 54405
PartiesSylvia MADRAZO, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Benjamin R. MICHAELS and Paula Michaels, Defendants-Appellees.
Decision Date10 September 1971

Page 635

274 N.E.2d 635
1 Ill.App.3d 583
Sylvia MADRAZO, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Benjamin R. MICHAELS and Paula Michaels, Defendants-Appellees.
Gen. No. 54405.
Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Second Division.
Sept. 10, 1971.

[1 Ill.App.3d 584]

Page 636

Kavathas, Castanes & Chakos, and Benjamin Daidone, Chicago, for plaintiff-appellant; John C. Castanes, Chicago, of counsel.

Joseph B. Lederleitner, Pretzel, Stouffer, Nolan & Rooney, Chicago, for defendants-appellees.

LEIGHTON, Plaintiff Justice.

This was a suit to recover damages for personal injuries which plaintiff sustained when she fell on a stairway in defendants'

Page 637

home. The parties [1 Ill.App.3d 585] agree concerning the facts which give rise to the issue in this appeal.

Defendants Benjamin and Paula Michaels are husband and wife, and at the time in question were parents of two children, three and six years old. Plaintiff is Paula's aunt. Early in 1962, she was a seamstress and lived in New Jersey. In March 1962, defendants planned to move from one house to another in Skokie, Illinois. In January or February, Paula wrote plaintiff, told her that Benjamin Michaels was going to be in New York on the day of the move and asked her to come and help with the moving and with care of the children. Plaintiff, without any promise by defendants or expectation that she would be paid or reimbursed her expenses, left her job and came to defendant's home. The move, into a house that had three levels, was accomplished on March 1, 1962.

The next day, plaintiff and Paula unpacked cartons of household items. At about 11:00 A.M., plaintiff walked up the stairway to the third level. Paula, without telling plaintiff, took a box and placed it on the stairway. A short time later, plaintiff '(w)as coming down, loaded up with clothes, as usual, and I couldn't see too much down * * * I was leaning against the railing * * * I found myself slipping and my foot got into something * * * I noticed that my foot was inside of a box.' Paula Michaels, called by plaintiff as an adverse witness, told the jury of her letter inviting plaintiff to her home and of the incident on March 2, 1962 when she placed the box on the stairway just before plaintiff's fall. In addition, by stipulation, a deposition of the doctor who examined plaintiff in March 1969 was read to the jury. At the close of plaintiff's case, defendants moved for a directed verdict on two grounds. They argued that (1) plaintiff's evidence proved she was their social guest, a licensee in their home to whom they owed only the duty to refrain from willful and wanton conduct which could cause injury; and (2) the evidence proved plaintiff, as a matter of law, was guilty of contributory negligence because she walked down the stairway with her arms so full of clothes that she could not see where she was going. After hearing argument, the trial judge concluded that plaintiff was a social guest and that even if she were an invitee in defendants' home, she was guilty of contributory negligence. Therefore, he ruled that defendants were entitled to a directed verdict. The issue is whether this ruling was correct.

We begin with the principle that the trial judge ought to have directed the verdict only if all the evidence, viewed in its aspect most favorable to plaintiff, so overwhelmingly favored defendants that no contrary verdict based on that evidence could ever stand. Pedrick v. Peoria and Eastern R.R. Co., 37 Ill.2d 494, 229 N.E.2d 504; Bachman v. [1 Ill.App.3d 586] Illinois Central R. Co., Ill.App., 268 N.E.2d 42. Correctness of the ruling depends on plaintiff's status in defendants' home when she was injured, that is, whether she was a social guest or an invitee.

Plaintiff contends that her status was a question of fact for the jury. She argues that there was evidence which would have sustained a verdict that she was defendants' invitee. Plaintiff insists that defendants' motion should have been denied and the jury allowed to decide whether she was guilty of contributory negligence and whether she was injured by defendants' negligence.

Defendants, on the other hand, contend that plaintiff was their social guest, a licensee on their property, to whom they owed no other duty than to refrain from willful and wanton conduct that could cause her injury. They argue that on plaintiff's evidence, no verdict, contrary to the one directed, could ever stand. It is necessary, therefore, that from the evidence in the record we determine whether, as defendants contend, plaintiff was defendants' social guest who, as a matter of law, was guilty of contributory negligence when she was injured, or, as plaintiff insists, she was

Page 638

an invitee on defendants' property who, in the exercise of due care for her safety, was injured by defendants' negligence. In making this determination we must resort to the authoritative sources of our law and language.

Webster, in the context that concerns us, defines 'social' as that which is '(s)pent, taken, enjoyed * * * in the company of one's friends or equals; marked by or pertaining to companionship * * * for the sake of diversion * * *.' A guest, he tells us, is '(a) person...

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22 practice notes
  • Figueroa v. Evangelical Covenant Church, No. 88-3201
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 18, 1989
    ...of benefit or a benefit to the owner. Grimwood, 130 Ill.App.3d at 710, 86 Ill.Dec. at 8, 474 N.E.2d at 922 (quoting Madrazo v. Michaels, 1 Ill.App.3d 583, 586, 274 N.E.2d 635, 638 (1st Dist.1971)) (emphasis added); see also Cerniglia, 160 Ill.App.3d at 576, 113 Ill.Dec. at 14, 514 N.E.2d at......
  • Washington v. Atlantic Richfield Co., No. 48392
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • November 15, 1976
    ...902, 289 N.E.2d 204. A social guest was owed no greater duty than was owed a licensee or trespasser. (Madrazo v. Michaels (1971), 1 Ill.App.3d 583, 274 N.E.2d 635; Kay v. Ludwick (1967), 87 Ill.App.2d 114, 230 N.E.2d 494.) Witness, however, the expansion of the term 'invitee' to embrace an ......
  • Walton v. Norphlett, No. 77-77
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • December 22, 1977
    ...relationship that will push a licensee or social guest into the protection of the invitee category. (Compare Madrazo v. Michaels (1971), 1 Ill.App.3d 583, 274 N.E.2d 635 with Kapka v. Urbaszewski (1964), 47 Ill.App.2d 321, 198 N.E.2d 569.) Other jurisdictions have abolished the social guest......
  • Fugate v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., No. 54476
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 8, 1973
    ...guest is a person who goes onto the property of another for companionship, diversion and enjoyment of hospitality. Madrazo v. Michaels, 1 Ill.App.3d 583, 274 N.E.2d 635. All of the evidence admitted shows that plaintiff went to Mrs. Crawford's apartment at the invitation of her caughter, an......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
22 cases
  • Washington v. Atlantic Richfield Co., No. 48392
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • November 15, 1976
    ...902, 289 N.E.2d 204. A social guest was owed no greater duty than was owed a licensee or trespasser. (Madrazo v. Michaels (1971), 1 Ill.App.3d 583, 274 N.E.2d 635; Kay v. Ludwick (1967), 87 Ill.App.2d 114, 230 N.E.2d 494.) Witness, however, the expansion of the term 'invitee' to embrace an ......
  • Figueroa v. Evangelical Covenant Church, No. 88-3201
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 18, 1989
    ...of benefit or a benefit to the owner. Grimwood, 130 Ill.App.3d at 710, 86 Ill.Dec. at 8, 474 N.E.2d at 922 (quoting Madrazo v. Michaels, 1 Ill.App.3d 583, 586, 274 N.E.2d 635, 638 (1st Dist.1971)) (emphasis added); see also Cerniglia, 160 Ill.App.3d at 576, 113 Ill.Dec. at 14, 514 N.E.2d at......
  • Walton v. Norphlett, No. 77-77
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • December 22, 1977
    ...relationship that will push a licensee or social guest into the protection of the invitee category. (Compare Madrazo v. Michaels (1971), 1 Ill.App.3d 583, 274 N.E.2d 635 with Kapka v. Urbaszewski (1964), 47 Ill.App.2d 321, 198 N.E.2d 569.) Other jurisdictions have abolished the social guest......
  • Fugate v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., No. 54476
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 8, 1973
    ...guest is a person who goes onto the property of another for companionship, diversion and enjoyment of hospitality. Madrazo v. Michaels, 1 Ill.App.3d 583, 274 N.E.2d 635. All of the evidence admitted shows that plaintiff went to Mrs. Crawford's apartment at the invitation of her caughter, an......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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