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O'Callaghan v. Waller & Beckwith Realty Co.

Illinois Supreme Court
155 N.E.2d 545 (1958)


Ella O'Callaghan (O'Callaghan) (plaintiff) was a tenant in a large apartment building maintained and operated by Waller & Beckwith Realty Co. (Beckwith) (defendant). O'Callaghan signed a form lease with an exculpatory clause relieving Beckwith, the lessor, and its agents from injuries arising from their negligent conduct. At the time O'Callaghan signed the lease there was a widespread and severe housing shortage. After O'Callaghan was injured from a fall in the apartment building's courtyard, she commenced an action against Beckwith for negligence alleging that her injuries were caused by defective pavement in the courtyard. O'Callaghan later died and the administrator of her estate was substituted. A jury found in favor of O'Callaghan's estate and judgment was entered. Beckwith appealed and the Appellate Court held that O'Callaghan's action was barred by an exculpatory clause in the lease relieving Beckwith of liability for its negligent conduct. The Appellate Court reversed the judgment of the trial court and remanded for judgment to be entered for Beckwith. O'Callaghan's estate appealed.

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