On September 8, 2021 the Judges of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois held the Federal Reentry Second C.H.A.N.C.E. Graduation ceremony at the Union League Club of Chicago. Mayor Lightfoot was the keynote speaker. The Union League Club’s Administration of Justice subcommittee has been an active supporter of the Federal Reentry Second C.H.A.N.C.E programs. Robert D. Kreisman of Kreisman Law Offices, the chair of the Administration of Justice subcommittee was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the committee.

The Certificate of Appreciation was presented by federal judges Susan F. Cox, Sara L. Ellis, and Sharon Johnson Coleman. The graduation of 11 individuals was attended by many, including the Northern District’s Chief Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer, with special recognition to Former Chief Judge Ruben Castillo, Former Magistrate Judge Sidney J. Schenkier, Karen White, US Probation, Nicole Roman, US Probation, Lisa Palmer, US Probation, and Former Assistant US Attorney, Tobara Richardson.

Keith Zabielski, 51, was working for a subcontractor on a retaining wall project at a private home. Martin Russell, owner of the general contractor Just Right Construction, was operating a backhoe to transport a 1,000-pound concrete block.

As the block moved, it slid out of its supportive strap and hit Zabielski’s right knee.

Zabielski required arthroscopic surgery and physical therapy. He is expected to require a total knee replacement procedure. Currently he has difficulty walking and experiences pain and mobility issues with his left knee and back.

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Roe was driving an 18-wheeler truck for a national commercial trucking company when he allegedly ran a stop sign. In doing so, he crashed into the vehicle operated by Doe. An emergency crew used the jaws of life to extract Doe from the vehicle.

Doe sustained cervical spinal injuries that required a spinal fusion surgery. In addition, Doe suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Doe sued the trucking company, alleging liability for the crash. The defendant argued Doe was speeding and talking on her phone at the time of the incident and was not wearing her seat belt.

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Parag Mathur, 51, was stopped for a red light at an intersection.  A truck that was traveling in the same direction rear-ended an SUV two cars behind Mathur’s vehicle. That caused the SUV to leave the roadway and caused the truck to crash into the car directly behind Mathur’s car.  That car, in turn, plowed into Mathur’s car.

Mathur suffered herniated disks at C5-6, C7-T1, T11-12, and L5-S1, as well as bulging disks in his cervical spine.

In addition, he suffered a torn right medial meniscus and shoulder injuries. He required physical therapy and spinal surgeries.  He continues to experience back pain and diminished range of motion.

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The plaintiff, William Kleronomos, filed a two-count complaint against William Sackmaster, claiming negligence in causing a 2014 vehicular crash in Chicago. Sackmaster’s employer, Aim Transfer & Storage, was also sued for vicarious liability. Kleronomos uncovered evidence in discovery that Sackmaster allegedly failed “multiple drug tests,” caused several other crashes, was rehired after being fired for “chronic drug use” and had repeatedly “blacked out on the road.”

But the defendant, Aim, argued that the set of new claims Kleronomos pursued against it in 2019 for compensatory and punitive damages, based on alleged willful and wanton misconduct in hiring Sackmaster (Count III of that Amended Complaint), letting him drive its truck (Count IV), and retaining him as an employee (Count V), were barred by the statute of limitations.

The relation back statute did not apply, according to Aim, because Kleronomos’s “employment claims are separate and distinct from the original negligence claims.”

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Doe, age 7, was riding in a van operated by his classmate’s mother. As the van entered an intersection that was controlled by a traffic light, Roe, an employee of a contracting company, collided with the van, which caused it to strike a telephone pole.

Both Doe and his classmates were ejected and landed on the roadway. Doe suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Doe’s family sued the contracting company and his classmate’s mother alleging liability for the crash. The Doe family claimed that Roe’s choosing not to stop at a red light caused the crash.

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Yijing Chen, 26, was walking with his mother, Hong Fen Shen, 53, along a public sidewalk near a freeway on-ramp.

When the traffic signal turned green, Chen and his mother walked across the on-ramp. A pickup truck driven by Nicole Herschel turned right onto the ramp, hitting both mother and son. Shen suffered traumatic injuries and later died. Chen suffered a fractured leg and required surgery.

He sued Herschel, alleging she had chosen not to yield the right-of-way.

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In a recent order, the Illinois Supreme Court held that “remote jury selection by video conference … in civil cases is permissible to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure so that litigants can access justice in a timely fashion while keeping all jurors, court personnel, litigants, and the public safe.”

Along with the Order, the Supreme Court adopted guidelines issued by the Court Operations During COVID-19 Taskforce.

This new procedure will try to navigate a course that follows the Seventh Amendment’s guaranteed right to a trial by jury and public health officials’ calls for social distancing to avoid spread of the contagious coronavirus in close quarters such as court facilities.

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United Parcel Service (UPS) has conceded it could not sue Material Handling Services (MHS) for contribution under the Illinois Joint Tortfeasor Contribution Act. This case stems from an incident involving Raichid Rafik, a UPS employee who was struck on the head by a 10-lb. metal disc that fell from an overhead package handling system.

Rafik sued MHS for negligence in designing and installing the warehouse machinery and UPS for spoliation in choosing not to preserve the evidence he needed to identify and sue the shipper for negligent packaging. UPS filed a cross-claim against MHS for subrogation, equitable and statutory.

UPS reasoned it was entitled to equitable subrogation and statutory subrogation under 740 ILCS 100/2(f) of the Illinois Contribution Act because (1) the damage it potentially owed for spoliation was equal to what Rafik could have recovered from the shipper, and (2) the shipper could have pursued a contribution claim against MHS.

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Michelle Anderson, 36, was driving in the southbound lane of the highway when Calvin Adams, traveling in the opposite direction, attempted to pass a line of traffic in a no-passing zone.

Adams crossed the centerline and struck Anderson’s car head-on.

Both drivers were killed in the crash. Anderson was survived by her husband and three minor children.

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