Sara Agate, who was the winner of the Kreisman Law Offices scholarship for the year 2019, has been hired as an associate attorney in the health-care and life sciences practice group of the law firm Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff, LLP.  The Benesch law firm is a national law firm with multiple offices across the United States, including an office in Shanghai, China.

The Kreisman Law Offices law school scholarship is awarded each calendar year to applicants who have displayed exceptional academic skills, writing ability and legal reasoning.  Sara Agate was Kreisman Law Offices’ proud winner of this coveted award.

Sara is a cum laude graduate of the Chicago-Kent College of Law of the Illinois Institute of Technology. In addition, Sara has a master’s degree in health policy and administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago as well as an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Margaret Decharinte, 93,  was ruled to be competent to act as administrator of the estate of her late husband, Frank Decharinte. A hearing was conducted in 2018 hearing on objections made by her step-daughter, Joanne Bartolone. Bartolone’s attorney reported that she had interviewed Decharinte and that Decharinte “doesn’t know what year it is,” “thinks it’s 2014,” “doesn’t know what season it is,” “didn’t know what day of the week it is,” “doesn’t handle her own personal finances,” and “doesn’t know what her bank is.”

When Decharinte was questioned by the DuPage County Circuit Court judge, she gave some befuddled answers but insisted that she could handle the job with help from her daughter, Laurie. The judge ruled, “She’s competent enough to handle this with the assistance that she has.”

That decision was appealed to the Illinois Appellate Court for the Second District, which affirmed, explaining that the test for determining whether someone is competent to serve as an administrator under the Illinois Probate Act is the same as the standard for testamentary capacity: “the ability to know and remember the natural objects of his or her bounty, to understand the character of his or her property and to plan a disposition of that property.”

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David Ford’s wife and son (the plaintiffs) filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. after David Ford died as a result of injuries he suffered while working as a contractor at Ford Motor’s Kansas City, Mo., assembly plant.  He was delivering vehicle seats to the plant when he was crushed between a stationary guard rail and a moving piece of machinery.

The Ford family alleged that Ford Motor was negligent for choosing not to remove a barricade with a dangerous pinch point, or to effectively warn visitors of its existence.

After an 8-day jury trial in the Circuit Court of Clay County, Mo., the jury found Ford Motor to have 95% comparative fault for Ford’s injuries and death. The jury signed a verdict in favor of the Ford family, the plaintiffs, in the amount of $38 million in compensatory damages. In addition, the jury awarded the plaintiffs an additional $38 million in aggravating circumstances damages, amounting to punitive damages.

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The Minnesota Supreme Court has reversed a decision of the Court of Appeals in that state. The appeals court affirmed the decision of the district court, which granted judgment as a matter of law to Lycoming Engines. In this case, Mark Kedrowski claimed that a defective fuel pump was manufactured and distributed by Lycoming Engines, which caused the airplane he was piloting to lose power and crash.

Kedrowski was seriously injured. The high court held that the district court abused its discretion by excluding the opinion of Kedrowski’s sole expert witness who testified on causation.

At the jury trial, a verdict was signed by the jury in the amount of $27 million in favor of Kedrowski.  Thereafter, the district court granted Lycoming Engine’s motion for judgment in this matter concluding that the opinion of Kedrowski’s sole causation expert lacked foundational reliability and that, without this opinion, Kedrowski’s claims failed.

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Catherine White was operating her motor scooter on a street when Zareh Koocherian’s vehicle turned left directly in front of her. White lost control of her scooter, fell, and suffered lower back injuries that required placement of a spinal cord stimulator.

Although the stimulator has provided relief from her back pain, she is still unable to work as much as she had before the incident. Her medical bills were approximately $326,000.

White sued Koocherian alleging that he negligently made the left turn in front of her causing the collision. The lawsuit did not claim past lost income. The jury’s verdict in favor of White was more than $4.4 million finding White comparatively negligent at 20%.

Cindy Tran Huynh was just 22 years old when her death occurred. She was driving her motorcycle through an intersection on a green light when George Hooks, who was operating a tractor-trailer owned by MDV SpartanNash, LLC, turned left across Huynh’s path.

Huynh suffered a fatal blunt force trauma. She had been a veteran and student and is survived by her parents.

Huynh’s mother, individually and on behalf of her estate, sued MDV SpartanNash, alleging that Hooks had chosen not to keep a proper lookout and to yield the right-of-way.

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Dwayne Schultz was working as a carpenter’s assistant for a subcontractor on a home construction project for the general contractor, Atlas Homes LLC.  Schultz, who was 52 at the time, was framing the home on the second floor when he stepped backward to pull up a compressor hose and fell approximately 20 feet off the side of the building. He suffered thoracic and lumbar spinal fractures and four fractured ribs.

As a result of the injuries he suffered, Schultz underwent open reduction internal fixation surgery, which included a 3-level spinal fusion. Schultz continues to experience pain and discomfort and has difficulty standing, walking, or sitting for extended periods of time. His medical expenses were $177,000.

He sued Atlas Homes and its owner, alleging they chose not to comply with OSHA standards by providing fall protection and temporary railings at the work site. The lawsuit did not claim lost income.

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Jacob Lee, a teenager, was driving a Dodge Ram truck on a state roadway. After running a red light at an intersection, Lee approached a second intersection where he rear-ended a van carrying the Johnson family. Their van was stopped at a red light.

David Johnson, 35, suffered a concussion. His wife, Susannah, 34, pregnant at the time of the crash, suffered fractures to all of her ribs. Two of the Johnsons’ daughters, ages 8 and 10, suffered bilateral hip fractures and other orthopedic injuries. Tragically, their 6-year-old daughter suffered fatal injuries, and their 3-year-old son suffered a spinal injury, which resulted in quadriplegia.

The Johnson family sued Lee alleging that he had been driving 78 mph while under the influence of alcohol and the inhalant difluoroethane. Lee admitted liability. The jury signed a verdict in favor of the Johnsons for over $128.81 million. Lee was sentenced to 30 years in prison for a vehicular homicide.

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A tire company will not face a lawsuit involving the wrongful death of one of its employees who was killed in a truck crash. U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee wrote the opinion dismissing a wrongful-death lawsuit and survival claims against Pomp’s Tire Service Inc. on behalf of the Estate of Dustin Webster.

Federal District Court held that the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act bars the claims that the Estate of Webster brought against his employer. The original lawsuit by the estate was filed in LaSalle County, Ill., under Illinois law but was removed to the U.S. District Court in Chicago under diversity jurisdiction.

Webster was killed in November 2017 when the truck he was driving for Pomp’s collided with another truck in LaSalle County.

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After John A. Bohn Jr. passed away, his father opened a probate estate and was appointed the estate’s administrator. Patricia A. Buczkiewicz filed a claim against the estate alleging that she and the decedent had lived together for 40 years and she sought quantum meruit and fair compensation for various services rendered while he was alive.

On the estate’s motion, the Circuit Court judge dismissed her claim, finding that, as a matter of law, she was incapable of providing caregiving services to a decedent. The court based its rulings solely on photographs that had been attached to the estate’s reply in support of its motion to dismiss, which depicted a residence previously owned by the decedent, now part of his estate, in a state of disrepair.

On appeal, she contended that the Circuit Court erred in dismissing her claim based solely on the photographs of the residence. The appeals panel agreed with her and reversed the Circuit Court’s dismissal and sent the case back for further proceedings in probate court.

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