Slip and Fall Due to An Alleged Unreasonable Amount of Ice

In Thompson v. Tormike, Inc., 127 Ill. App. 3d 674, 469 N.E.2d 453, 82 Ill. Dec. 919 (1984) plaintiff slipped and fell in the parking lot of defendant's restaurant due to an alleged unreasonable amount of accumulated ice. Plaintiff's complaint claimed, inter alia, that the parking lot constituted a public nuisance. The circuit court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a cause of action. Thompson, 127 Ill. App. 3d at 674-75. On appeal, plaintiff contended that "an action in nuisance may be maintained for compensation for personal injuries against the party responsible for a public nuisance." Thompson, 127 Ill. App. 3d at 675. The appellate court examined the nuisance ordinance, former section 99-4 of the Code (now section 7-28-060), and found that "a private cause of action is not necessary to achieve the aim of the city [nuisance] ordinance" since "the fines can [] be substantial and in all probability will deter the commission of the offense." Thompson, 127 Ill. App. 3d at 675-76. The court also pointed out that a landowner has no duty to remove, or take other precautions, against the dangers inherent in natural accumulations of snow and ice; liability will be imposed only where such conditions result from artificial or unnatural accumulations. The court concluded, "were we to allow a private cause of action under a public nuisance theory, we would defeat the established law in Illinois regarding liability for removal of snow and ice.." Thompson, 127 Ill. App. 3d at 676.