Lee Newsome sustained a serious injury to his right foot when a rail hanging from a crane fell on him. He was working for the Wisconsin Central Railroad. Newsome sued the railroad under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) claiming that his injuries caused him a “loss of future earning capacity.” Wisconsin Central moved for partial summary judgment on Newsome’s loss of future earning capacity, arguing that the evidence did not support his claim. The U.S. Magistrate Judge handling this case denied Wisconsin Central’s motion, holding that there was a fact question for the jury.  According to the Magistrate Judge’s decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the FELA allows for the awarding of damages for impairment of earning capacity.

“The FELA is a broad remedial statute to be construed liberally in order to effectuate its purpose. In addition to compensation for pain and suffering, the FELA allows damages for economic harms such as loss of past and future wages and impairment of earning capacity that result from injury.” Grunenthal v. Long Island RR Co., 393 U.S. 156, 160-62 (1968).”

There were no 7th Circuit Court of Appeals cases for the Magistrate Judge to rely on. However, there were other federal circuit court cases that stated that proofs necessary to recover future loss of earning capacity is allowed in the FELA context.

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Sam Eddins was 81 and used an electric wheelchair to get around. He was in the process of crossing a street at a crosswalk in a controlled intersection. The defendant Eileen Jagger was driving her sedan when she turned left and crashed into Eddins in his wheelchair. Eddins suffered injuries including head trauma, shoulder dislocations and limb fractures.

He was taken from the scene to a nearby hospital where he later suffered cardiac arrest and died. His medical expenses totaled $879,900. He was survived by 3 adult children.

The Eddins family sued Jagger and her husband claiming that her choosing not to keep a proper lookout was the reason and the cause for the crash and subsequent injuries and death of Eddins.

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Raymond Berke fell in the vestibule of an apartment building where he and his wife were staying with friends. A doorman heard but did not see him fall. There were no eyewitnesses. He suffered spinal injuries that rendered him a quadriplegic. He has no memory of his fall.

Berke filed a lawsuit against the building owner and the management company claiming that the vestibule area, stairs and doorway, in particular, were improperly designed and maintained and were a direct and proximate cause of his injuries.  His wife brought a loss of consortium claims against both defendants.

The defendants moved for summary judgment. The trial judge entered judgment in their favor. The Berkes argued that they presented sufficient admissible evidence to support their prima facie case of premises liability that would preclude summary judgment. They also contended that the trial court erred in striking parts of their expert witness affidavits, submitted in support of their response to defendants’ summary judgment motion and that the court should have granted their motion to cite supplemental authority.

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A bill signed into law decrees that cars and bikes must be treated as equals in Illinois. House Bill 5912 was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner. The measure amends the Illinois Vehicle Code.  According to a recent report by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, the amendment to the code was prompted by the death of Dennis Jurs, a 68-year-old Army veteran who was biking when he was hit by a vehicle in Kane County last year.  Jurs’s death occurred at an intersection where north and southbound drivers have stop signs, but east and westbound vehicles did not.

In the October 2015 case, the driver of the car was charged with a failure to yield, but the case was dismissed when the Kane County judge ruled that there were conflicting rulings showing that bicyclists did not have the same rights as automobiles under Illinois law.

According to the article, the Jurs family, with their attorney Michael S. Keating, drafted the amendment to the Illinois Vehicle Code and pushed for its passage.

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A contract was entered into between Beckett Media LLC and OnRamp Technologies to allow Beckett to use OnRamp’s applications and websites for “inventory management and sales solution.” According to the contract, “in the event of any litigation of any controversy or dispute arising out of or related to this agreement, the prevailing party shall be entitled to an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.”

On Oct. 1, 2010, Beckett filed a lawsuit against OnRamp claiming breach of contract, unjust enrichment and violation of the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Consumer Fraud of Deceptive Business Practices Act.

During the trial, the parties voluntarily dismissed the claims about violation of the two deceptive practices act. Beckett filed an amended complaint for unjust enrichment, breach of contract and replevin, seeking the return of its server as well as money damages incurred by OnRamp’s refusal to return the server.

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Robert Howard was a 55-year-old truck driver when he arrived at a Nucor-Yamato Steel Co. facility to transport steel machine equipment. His flatbed tractor trailer was directed to a loading area where a Nucor employee was operating the crane to be used for loading the equipment onto Howard’s flatbed truck.

The Nucor employee positioned the load parallel to and partially above the trailer. While Howard attempted to place wood dunnage, a securing device, into the proper position on the trailer, the Nucor employee unexpectedly moved the 50,000-pound load, causing it to strike the dunnage. This forced Howard off the trailer. He suffered a compression fracture to his left heel bone as a result of his fall.

Howard underwent surgery and continues to have problems with mobility and pain. He has not returned to his job, in which he has been paid $22,600 per year. He has incurred medical expenses of about $46,000.

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The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which had required states with a history of discrimination –most of them in the South — to get advanced federal approvals to allow election laws to be amended. Much of this changed after the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision and the rise in Republican-controlled state legislatures. Voter access was limited by new laws that restricted early voting and same-day registration and that required special identification cards at polling places. These restrictions mostly disenfranchised or affected the voting opportunities of minorities, the elderly, the disabled and the poor in these 17 states.

The U.S. Justice Department challenged voter ID laws in many of these states including North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, Arizona and Georgia. Recently, federal courts have temporarily staved off some of the toughest requirements made into law in North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin after these federal judges found no evidence of what was called “rampant voter fraud.”  In fact, there is essentially zero in-person voting fraud in the more than half a billion votes that have been cast in the U.S. in the last 4-6 years.

With the Nov. 8, 2016 presidential election and other important federal and statewide elections on the horizon, litigation regarding voter restriction laws in these many states remains knotted up, with U.S. Supreme Court appeals likely. The legislation in the GOP-led Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act to its previous form has stalled.

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Karen Ann Whitaker was 60 when she started home from the church where she worked as a daycare teacher. Driving alone, she exited the church parking lot and turned onto the adjacent road. As she entered the northbound lane, southbound trucker Clarence Risher, who was driving a tractor-trailer while under the influence of methamphetamine, lost control of his truck.

The Risher truck jackknifed and crossed the center line. In doing so, the truck broadsided Whitaker’s car. She died on impact. She is survived by her husband, four adult children and five grandchildren.

Earlier on the day of this crash, Risher had delivered a load of chickens for House of Raeford Farms Inc., which had hired his employer, CRE Trucking LLC, as an independent contractor, to transport the chickens. Risher pleaded guilty to DUI involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving and operating without a valid driver’s license, among other serious criminal charges. He was also sentenced to 4 years in prison for this accident.

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Joseph Sondag was alleged in this lawsuit to have been exposed to asbestos dust from drywall tape manufactured by Tremco when he worked as a plasterer from 1957 to 1983. In 2007, he was diagnosed with pleural plaques and interstitial fibrosis.

At trial, Sondag’s treating physician, Dr. Al Rossi, testified that these conditions were probably caused by on-the-job exposure to asbestos. However, Dr. Rossi did not diagnose Sondag as suffering any symptoms from this condition.

According to Sondag’s wife, Phyllis, and their daughter, he suffered from shortness of breath. But he was an ex-smoker and was 82 when the case was tried. There was no expert testimony that the pleural plaques and interstitial fibrosis were symptomatic.

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On May 4, 2006, Thomas J. Diorio was driving westbound on Lake Street (IL Route 20) in Bartlett, Ill.  He was traveling at a speed of 35 mph when the defendant, Matthew J. Pattelli, rear-ended Thomas’s car near Park Boulevard. The crash caused about $2,300 in damage to the plaintiff’s 2005 Lincoln Navigator and $2,950 in damage to the Pattelli sedan. Photos of both of these cars were admitted into evidence by the court.

Diorio is a business owner. At age 58, he suffered a herniated disc at C4-5 with cervical radiculopathy, which is nerve pain traveling down the neck and spine. He also had neck pain, shoulder pain and headaches. His medical expenses were more than $29,000. There was no claim for lost time as Diorio had retired.

The defendant, Pattelli, 28, was drunk at the time of the crash. His blood/alcohol level was .199, which is more than double the Illinois legal limit for intoxication.

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