Ann Maher Apr. 4, 2014, 2:57pm

The City of Edwardsville argues that it is immune from liability in a lawsuit filed over alleged injuries outside the Wildey Theater.

In the suit filed in Madison County last year, Elizabeth Reynolds claims she fell on a steeply sloped sidewalk at the theater’s west side exit on College Street after attending a Pure Prairie League concert on June 19, 2012.

She claims that during the million dollar renovation of the theater it should have been readily apparent that the design of the height of the doors in relation to the distance to the sidewalk beneath the doors on the west side of the building was defective and extremely dangerous.

Represented by Christine McClimans of Schrempf, Kelly, Napp and Darr in Alton, the City says it cannot be found negligent under provisions of the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act.

It also seeks to dismiss counts of willful and wanton conduct.

“…[T]he actual allegation of failure to warn and failure to rehabilitate a door and a sidewalk on a fifty-year-old building do not constitute willful or wanton conduct,” McClimans wrote.

In the City’s motion to dismiss filed March 3, McClimans also states that while Reynolds alleges the Wildey Theater was renovated, there is no allegation that the door or the sidewalk was renovated.

“The City had no duty to renovate the door or the sidewalk because of the slope of the sidewalk or the height or threshold of the door,” McClimans wrote.

She also wrote that Reynolds does not argue that the City’s conduct in choosing not to renovate the door or sidewalk slope was willful and wanton.

“A willful or wanton injury must have been intentional or the act must have been committed under circumstances exhibiting a reckless disregard for the safety of others,” she wrote.

In addition, the City not only had no duty to renovate the existing structure but also had no duty to renovate the ways adjoining the sidewalk to bring it into compliance with any new or updated safety standards or building codes, McClimans wrote.

Jack B. Spooner of Spooner Law in St. Louis is representing the plaintiff.

Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian presides.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 13-L-1022


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