No Duty of Care Relieves Fire-Protection Company of Negligence Claims

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

Shook attorneys helped a fire-protection company defeat negligence claims from an electrician who alleged the company was liable for injuries he sustained while installing a fire-protection device.

The company subcontracted part of the installation of a new fire-protection device to an electric company, which sent the plaintiff to complete the work. During the installation, the electrician repeatedly stepped over a set of pipes on the ground installed by a fire-protection company employee, but after two hours, he fell while crossing the pipes and injured his shoulder and knee. He filed a lawsuit against the fire-protection company alleging the company had been negligent.

To determine whether a duty of care existed, the court examined relevant precedent, the contract language, Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations and expert testimony, disregarding the latter two considerations as not binding. Finding no duty of care, the court granted summary judgment for Shook's client.

Heck v. SimplexGrinnell LP, No. 14-5491 (N.D. Ill., E. Div. 2016).