Slip and Fall Injury on Soda Spilled on the Steps

In Shields v. State (1994), 47 Ill. Ct. Cl. 313, the claimant filed suit against the University of Illinois for injuries sustained when he slipped on some soda spilled on the steps of the Assembly Hall. At the time he slipped on the soda, claimant was not looking down at the floor but was watching the game. He also was not using the handrails located on either side of the steps. The Court found that the spill was an open and obvious condition and that a landowner was not required to give warning or precautions for dangers that are self-evident. Citing Ward, claimant argued that the university had a duty to anticipate that invitees would fail to appreciate the presence of substances on stairways when they were distracted or preoccupied with events taking place elsewhere. The Court noted that Ward states that the landowner or possessor of land is not required to anticipate the negligence of others. Since the danger was open and obvious and should have been recognized by claimant, this Court found that the State had not breached its duty of reasonable care in maintaining the facilities. Shields, 47 Ill. Ct. Cl. at 318.