Summary Judgment (Twice) - No Negligence, No Contractual Indemnity

Attorneys Katherine Crouch and Lauren Rafferty recently obtained summary judgment twice, on successive motions, in a Cook County case, extricating their janitorial services client from a multi-party lawsuit just a few months in advance of the trial date. Stuart Rappaport was the supervising partner. The plaintiff fell on a broken drainage grate while at work, sustaining leg and wrist injuries with some permanency issues. LRP attorneys developed evidence that the scope of our client’s contractual duties -- as the janitorial service for the building -- did not include repair of the grates, and we obtained summary judgment against the plaintiff after the court held we did not owe any duty as a matter of law. The next step was fighting off the co-defendant property manager’s indemnity and breach of contract claims against our client. After the ruling on the negligence claims, LRP attorneys filed a motion for summary judgment on the contract and indemnity claims. We successfully argued that, because the Court had already ruled our client was not negligent as a matter of law, the indemnity obligation for claims arising from our client's negligence must also necessarily fail. By pursuing this strategy of successive summary judgment motions on the different claims, we were able to wholly extricate our client from this lawsuit, which still remains pending against the property manager, and will be set for trial later this year. Landers v. United Building Maintenance, 12 L 13075.