Illinois Appellate Court Addresses Racetrack’s Liability

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The First District Appellate Court of Illinois recently addressed the liability of a property owner for negligently maintaining its premises in Morrissey v. Arlington Park Racecourse LLC, No. 1-09-3460 (2010).

In Morrissey, the plaintiff was injured when the horse he was riding slipped and fell. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit, alleging that the horse slipped and fell on a puddle of soapy water located on the asphalt next to the training track. As the plaintiff rode the horse off the track, the horse stepped in the puddle, slipped, and fell, injuring the plaintiff in the process. The plaintiff filed suit alleging that the defendant negligently maintained the racetrack.

The defendant claimed that it was not liable, in part, because the condition of the grounds was open and obvious and thus the plaintiff should have protected himself from such an obviously dangerous condition.

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