Heather Isringhausen Gvillo Apr. 6, 2015, 2:58pm

St. Clair County denies liability in a man’s personal injury lawsuit alleging he fell on slippery steps at the courthouse.

In Willie Vaughn’s Nov. 24 lawsuit, he alleges he was exiting the courthouse when he slipped and fell on ice on the St. Clair County courthouse steps.

In addition to medical costs, Vaughn claims he experienced pain and suffering.

Vaughn blames St. Clair County for causing his fall, saying it negligently failed to clean up water that had accumulated, failed to divert the water from the plastic shell over the walkway, failed to warn of a slick area and failed to prevent individuals from walking across the accumulated water.

Willie Vaughn filed a first amended complaint on Jan. 22, adding Shirley Vaughn as an additional plaintiff and also naming Public Building Commission as a defendant.

St. Clair County filed a motion to dismiss Counts I and III of the first amended complaint on Feb. 26, which alleges the defendant owns the property located at 10 Public Square in Belleville. St. Clair County, however, claims it neither owns nor has control of the property at issue here, meaning it has no duty to the plaintiff.

Defendant Public Building Commission answered the complaint on Feb. 26, denying the allegations against it and claiming immunity under the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act.

In its affirmative defenses, Public Building Commission claims the plaintiff’s own carelessness and negligence caused her alleged injures. The defendant argues that at the time of the alleged incident, the condition of the sidewalk was open and obvious, and the plaintiff owed a duty to exercise reasonable care for her own safety.

Public Building Commission also denies liability pursuant to the Premises Liability Act, which states that the defendant does not owe a duty to take reasonable steps to protect people from conditions that are known, reasonably expected, open and obvious.

In his complaint, Vaughn seeks a judgment of more than $75,000, plus costs.

Circuit Judge Robert LeChien scheduled a status conference for June 2 at 9:30 a.m.

Thomas Q. Keefe Jr. of Keefe and Keefe in Belleville represents Vaughn.

Kevin T. Hoerner of Becker, Hoerner, Thompson & Ysursa in Belleville represents Public Building Commission and St. Clair County.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 14-L-767

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