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Missouri Attorneys Secure Summary Judgment in Premises Liability Case

St. Louis Partner Brian K. McBrearty and Attorney Ben W. Hohenstein were granted summary judgment at the Adams County Courthouse in Illinois on behalf of a food and beverage establishment client.

Plaintiff was a regular customer of our client’s establishment and visited daily to purchase coffee. In June 2018, Plaintiff visited our client’s shop and was allegedly asked by a staff member to hang a sign on a doorknob warning customers of the dangers associated with the ongoing construction on the building’s roof. As Plaintiff opened the locked door that he was allegedly instructed to hang the sign, he was struck on the head, neck and back by debris that fell from the roof and sustained injuries comprising fractured ribs. Plaintiff subsequently underwent a pneumothorax procedure to re-inflate his lungs and remained hospitalized. Plaintiff further alleged ongoing aggravation of pre-existing back pain.

After Plaintiff filed suit against our client, our Missouri attorneys Brian McBrearty and Ben Hohenstein filed for summary judgment, stating that the danger associated with the construction was open and obvious, obviating the duty of our client to warn patrons about the potential hazards of the construction. During discovery, it was revealed that Plaintiff lived across the street from our client’s establishment and admitted he was aware of the construction. He also admitted that he understood standing in the doorway outside the building was dangerous. Our attorneys also contended that the construction area was marked with construction tape and other items indicating it was a construction site. Additionally, Brian and Ben argued that any remaining safety measures would be a duty beyond what was required.

In September 2022, the Court agreed with our attorneys that Plaintiff was admittedly aware of the risks associated with standing in the doorway, and granted summary judgment in favor of our client.

Brian focuses his practice on insurance defense litigation, civil liability cases, construction accidents and workers’ compensation matters. Brian’s defends self-insured and insured trucking company clients throughout the states of Missouri and Illinois.

Ben focuses his legal practice on insurance defense litigation and has extensive experience handling coverage matters. He defends claims involving premises liability, personal injury, products liability and toxic torts/asbestos.