Below are Judge Joan H. Lefkow’s instructions to the Jury concerning the bed bug lawsuit:
Now that the evidence has concluded, I will further instruct you as to the law and your duties. I have not meant to indicate any opinion as to the facts of this case by any of my rulings, remarks, or instructions.
Plaintiff allege two claims: (1) that the defendants committed a battery upon them, and (2) that the defendant’s breached their duty to use ordinary care to see that the premises were in a reasonably safe condition, in other words, defendants were negligent. In addition, plaintiffs claim that defendants’ conduct was willful and wanton.
An attorney may, if a witness agrees, interview a witness to learn what testimony will be given. Such an interview, by itself, does not reflect adversely on the truth of the testimony of the witness.
A fact may be proved by circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence consists of the proof of facts or circumstances that lead to a reasonable inference of the existence of other facts sought to be established.
Plaintiffs allege that the Defendants’ committed a battery upon them. A person commits a battery if he intentionally or knowingly, without lawful justification causes bodily harm to an individual or makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature.
If you find that a plaintiff has proved by a preponderance of the evidence
(1) that the defendants proximately caused physical contact with a plaintiff,
(2) of an insulting, provoking, or injurious nature,
(3) without the consent of a plaintiff,
(4) that defendants conduct was intentionally or knowingly done,
(5) and that, as a result, a plaintiff was injured, then you must find in favor of that plaintiff on that plaintiffs claim for battery. If, on the other hand, you find that one or more of these elements has not been proved, then you must find in favor of the defendants on the battery claim.
When I use the word “negligence” in these instructions, I mean the failure to do something which a reasonably careful person would do, or the doing of something which a reasonably careful person would not do, under circumstances similar to those shown by the evidence. The law does not say how a reasonably careful person would act under those circumstances. That is for you to decide.
When I use the words II ordinary care, 11 I mean the care a reasonably careful business entity would use under circumstances similar to those shown by he evidence. The law does not say how a reasonably careful business entity would act under those circumstances. That is for you to decide.
More than one person may be to blame for causing an injury. If you decide that defendants were negligent and that their negligence was a proximate cause of injury to the plaintiffs, it is not a defense that some third person who is not a party to the suit may also have been to blame.
When I use the expression “willful and wanton conduct” I mean a course of action which shows actual or deliberate intention to harm or which, if not intentional, shows an utter indifference to or conscious disregard for the safety of others.
It was the duty of the defendants, before and at the time of the occurrence, to refrain from willful and wanton conduct which would endanger the safety of the plaintiffs.
When I use the expression “proximate cause,” I mean any cause which, in natural or probable sequence, produced the injury complained of. It need not be the only cause, nor the last or nearest cause. It is sufficient if it concurs with some other cause acting at the same time, which in combination with it, causes the injury.
When I say that a party has the burden of proof on any proposition, or use the expression “if you find,” or “if you decide,” I mean you must be persuaded, considering all the evidence in the case, that the proposition on which he has the burden of proof is more probably true than not true.
Under our law, plaintiffs Desiree Mathias and Burl Mathias may attempt to prove in either of two ways that defendants, Accor Economy Lodging and Motel 6 Operating L.P., were negligent.
They may prove either what defendants Accor Economy Lodging and Motel 6 Operating L.P. actually did or did not do, or, on the other hand, he may attempt to prove the following propositions:
First: That the plaintiffs were injured.
Second: That the injury was received from insects, namely Cimex Lectularius, that had infected room 5 04 of Defendants’ Motel, which was under the defendants’ management.
Third: That in the normal course of events, the injuries and damages would not have occurred if the defendants had used ordinary care while the insects, namely Cimex Lectularius were under their control and management.
If you find that each of these propositions has been proved, the law permits you to infer from them that the defendant was negligent with respect to the Motel 6′ s· Cimex lectularius infestation while it was under their control or management.
If you decide for the plaintiffs on any of their claims, you must then fix the amount of money which will reasonably and fairly compensate them for any of the following elements of damages proved by the evidence to have resulted from the conduct of the defendants:
- The emotional distress experienced and reasonably certain to be experienced in the future;
- The loss of normal life resulting from the injury;
- The pain and suffering experienced and reasonably certain to be experienced in the future as a result of the injuries; and
- The value of time, earnings, profits, salaries, and benefits lost.
- Whether any of these elements of damages has been proved by the evidence is for you to determine.
When I use the expression “loss of a normal life”, I mean the temporary or permanent diminished ability to enjoy life. This includes a person’s inability to pursue the pleasurable aspects of life.
The defendants Accor Economy Lodging and Motel 6 Operating L.P. are corporations and can act only through its officers and employees. As to plaintiffs claim for compensatory damages against Accor Economy Lodging and Motel 6 Operating L.P., any act or omission ofan officer or employee within the scope of his employment is the action or omission of the defendant Accor Economy Lodging and Motel 6 Operating L.P. As to plaintiffs’ claim for punitive damages against Accor Economy Lodging and Motel 6 Operating L.P., a different rule applies. Punitive damages may be awarded against Accor Economy Lodging and Motel 6 Operating L.P. only if (1) you find in favor of the plaintiffs, Desiree and Burl Mathias and against Accor Economy Lodging and Motel 6 Operating L.P. on any of the plaintiffs’ claims, and (2) you find the officer’s or employee’s conduct was willful and wanton or a violation of trust or confidence, and (3) you find that, as to the act(s) or omission(s) giving rise to liability under any of the plaintiffs’ claims, one or more of the following conditions is met:
(a) The corporation, through its management, authorized the doing and the manner of the act or om1ss10n; or
(b) The employee responsible for the act or omission was unfit, and the corporation was reckless in employing him; or
(c) The act or omission was that of a managerial employee who was acting in the scope of his employment; or
(d) The corporation, through its management or a managerial employee, ratified or approved the act or omission.
If you find for the plaintiff and against the defendant under any of the plaintiffs’ claims, and if you further find that the officer’s or employee’s conduct was willful and wanton or a violation of trust or confidence, and if you further find that one or more of these conditions is met, and if you further believe that justice and the public good require it, you may, in addition to any other damages to which you find the plaintiff entitled, award an amount which will serve to punish Accor Economy Lodging and Motel 6 Operating L.P. and to deter Accor Economy Lodging and Motel 6 Operating L.P. and others from similar conduct.
The rights of the plaintiffs Desiree Mathias and Burl Mathias are separate and distinct. Each is entitled to a fair consideration of his own case and you will decide each plaintiff’s case as if it were a separate lawsuit. Each plaintiff’s case must be governed by the instructions applicable to that case.
If you find that both plaintiffs are entitled to recover, you will assess the damages of each separately and return a verdict in a separate amount for each.
The defendants are corporations and can act only through their officers and employees. Any act or omission of an officer or employee within the scope of his employment is the action or omission of the defendant corporation.
Accor Economy Lodging and Motel 6 Operating L.P. owed Desiree Mathis and Burl Mathias, invitees and people on their property at their invitation or with their permission, the duty to use ordinary care to see that the premises are in a reasonably safe condition.
When you retire to the jury room you will first select a foreperson. He or she will preside during your deliberations.
Your verdict must be unanimous.
Forms of verdicts are supplied with these instructions. After you have reached your verdict, fill in and sign the appropriate form of verdict and return it to the court. Your verdict must be signed by each of you. You should not write or mark upon this or any of the other instructions given to you by the court.
If you find for Burl Mathias and against Accor Economy Lodging and Motel 6 Operating LP, then you should use VERDICT FORM A – BURL MATHIAS.
If you find against Burl Mathias and for Accor Economy Lodging and Motel 6 Operating LP, then you should use VERDICT FORM B – BURL MATHIAS.
If you find for Desiree Mathias and against Accor Economy Lodging and Motel 6 Operating LP, then you should use VERDICT FORM A – DESIREE MATHIAS.
If you find against Burl Mathias and for Accor Economy Lodging and Motel 6 Operating LP, then you should use VERDICT FORM B – DESIREE MATHIAS.
These Jury instructions about the bed bug lawsuit come from Case: 1:01-cv-06329 Document #: 158 Filed: 08/02/02 filed in in the United States District Court For The Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division Aug 02, 2002 assigned to Judge Joan H. Lefkow and Magistrate Judge Ashman
Case No.: 01 C 6329