Bruns v. City of CentraliaAnnotate this Case
Bruns, age 79, drove to a Centralia eye clinic. She did not use the parking lot, but parked on 2nd Street in front of the clinic, as she had on each of nine previous visits. As she walked toward the clinic, Bruns stubbed her toe on a crack in the sidewalk, causing her to fall and injure her arm, leg and knee. She had been looking “towards the door and the steps” of the clinic. Bruns “definitely” noticed the sidewalk defect every time she went to the clinic. Clinic employees had twice contacted the city about the defect, including after a previous accident, and offered to pay to remove the tree that caused it. The city would not authorize removal because of the 100-year-old tree’s historic significance. Bruns sued, arguing that the city should have reasonably foreseen that a pedestrian could become distracted and fail to protect herself against the dangerous condition. The trial court granted the city summary judgment, finding the defect open and obvious. The appellate court reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, reinstating the summary judgment. The city has miles of sidewalk to maintain; imposing a duty to protect plaintiffs from open and obvious defects would not be justified.