Lennox Hinckson, 65, was working as an elevator maintenance and repair person for Alimak Elevator Co.  He was scheduled to perform standby services at the Holcim cement plant while senior executives toured the plant.

On the second day of Hinckson’s standby service, a Holcim employee allegedly asked Hinckson to repair the preheater towers’ outside elevator, which was landing short of the fourth floor of the tower.

Hinckson began to adjust the limit switch on top of the elevator cab. Unexpectedly, a Holcim employee called the elevator from a lower floor, which caused the elevator to descend.

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Joshua Hernandez, 17 and a student, was a passenger in his friend’s car when a tractor-trailer driven by Nathan Harris for Phenix Transportation West Inc. crashed into the Hernandez vehicle in an intersection. Hernandez suffered brain injuries in the crash and now requires full-time care. His medical expenses were approximately $780,000.

Hernandez sued Phenix Transportation West, Inc. Phenix Transportation Inc., and Harris, alleging that Harris chose not to yield or obey a red light. Hernandez offered to settle for insurance policy limits, but the defendants declined. After presenting the case to the jury, they signed a verdict for $52.9 million.

The attorneys successfully handling this tragic case for Hernandez were William D. Shapiro and Brian D. Shapiro.

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Michael Frasier was invited to a Fourth of July cookout at the home of Robert and Laura O’Black. A large raft with a solid center was placed in the O’Blacks’ in-ground swimming pool, where Frasier and other guests were roughhousing.

Frasier dove onto the raft, propelled forward, and launched into the shallow end of the pool, striking his head. He suffered cervical spinal fractures and is now paralyzed from his chest down.  His condition necessitated six or more surgeries, including two major neck surgeries.

Frasier sued the O’Blacks, alleging negligence and choosing not to warn of the dangerous conditions that existed. He asserted that the raft, which was designed to be used on open water, did not belong in a home swimming pool.

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Anthony Bearden was walking along the shoulder of a residential road when Lloyd Young approached in a Jeep Grand Cherokee and struck him. Bearden suffered orthopedic surgeries and a traumatic brain injury. He now requires the use of a wheelchair and suffers from pain and mental distress.

Bearden sued Young, alleging negligence and wantonness. Bearden also maintained that the defendant had been speeding and driving while distracted.

After the jury trial, the jury signed a verdict for $25 million in compensatory damages.

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Ciara Smith, 13, was riding her bike with her friend in Redondo Beach, Cal. When Ciara came to the Pacific Coast Highway, she intended to use the crosswalk to cross the roadway. Ciara left the curb ramp and her handlebar came in contact with the right side of a bus.

Ciara was thrown from her bike, fell under the rear tires of the bus and suffered fatal injuries. She was survived by her parents.

The Smith family sued MV Transportation Inc., alleging liability for the negligence of its bus driver for choosing not to yield the right-of-way and avoiding a collision with Ciara. The lawsuit also alleged MV Transportation failed to properly train the bus driver.

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After turning right onto a northbound roadway, Victoria Waits Cofer’s vehicle was struck on the driver’s side by a fully loaded tractor-trailer that had just changed lanes.

Cofer, 56, suffered a brain bleed, abdominal injuries and multiple fractures. She died approximately 2½  months later. Cofer’s medical expenses totaled $500,000. She was survived by her husband and two adult children.

Cofer’s estate sued ABF Freight Systems Inc., which owned the tractor-trailer, alleging that the truck’s driver made an ill-timed and unsafe lane change, was speeding and chose not to keep a proper lookout or yield the right-of-way. There was no claim for lost income in this lawsuit.

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Patricia Carr, 61, was driving on a two-lane highway when Jenny Jung Ah Yim’s vehicle turned left from a driveway and crashed into Carr’s vehicle. The collision caused Carr to suffer a burst fracture at L2, which required surgery. Carr, a teacher, was earning approximately $70,000 per year. She was unable to return to work due to problems with walking and stability.

Carr sued Yim, alleging Yim was negligent in choosing not to yield the right-of-way.

The jury signed a verdict for more than $6.2 million. With prejudgment interest, the amount of the verdict became over $7.2 million. A motion for attorney’s fees is reported to be pending.

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A U.S. District Court judge in Chicago has ruled that the federal law prohibiting drug addicts and people who illegally use controlled substances from possessing firearms does not violate the Constitution’s Second Amendment. U.S. District Court Judge Robert W. Gettleman of the Northern District of Illinois acknowledged the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2022 had adopted a new standard for determining whether particular conduct may be regulated by the government without running afoul of the right to bear arms.

The U.S. Supreme Court in New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, 142 S.Ct. 2111 (2022), narrowed the category of firearm-related acts that the government can regulate.

“When the Second Amendment’s plain text protects certain conduct, the government can regulate such conduct only if it can demonstrate that the regulation is consistent with the historical tradition of firearm regulation in the United States. Otherwise, the courts must conclude that the individual’s firearm-related conduct is protected because it falls within the Second Amendment’s ‘unqualified command.’”

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The Illinois Supreme Court reversed a dismissal by the appellate court and affirmed the circuit court judgment in a personal injury case in which the following issues were considered:

  1. whether an employer who admits liability under the doctrine of respondeat superior may be independently liable for its own negligence, even if the jury finds that the employee was not negligent, and
  2. whether the trial court erred in granting the employer’s request for a new trial after the jury rendered legally inconsistent findings.

The Illinois Supreme Court concluded it is “settled law” that a plaintiff may plead and prove multiple causes of action. The state high court also ruled that it is “settled law,” so long as there is a good-faith factual basis for a plaintiff’s claim of direct negligence against an employer; in that case, the plaintiff is allowed to pursue the claim in addition to a claim of vicarious liability.

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Pedro Flores, a 34-year-old laborer, was on a construction crew that was building a sensor median along several streets. While he was bent over fixing a plastic lane divider, the driver of a parked cement truck pulled forward several feet, hitting Flores. He suffered a labral tear to his hip, which required several surgeries.

Flores also suffered post-concussion syndrome, which had led to migraines and PTSD.

His medical expense totaled $204,000. His back and hip pain have prevented him from returning to his former job. He was earning $28 per hour at the time of this incident.

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