Relying on Paragraph 3 of the power of attorney statement that Billy D. Collins signed about a week before he died, Patricia Noltensmeier made herself the beneficiary of Collins’s $45,000 Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

The power of attorney given to Noltensmeier included the power of an attorney-in-fact, the “power to make gifts, exercise powers of appointment, name or change beneficiaries under any beneficiary form or contractual arrangement.”

However, the original beneficiaries of the IRA, Kenny Collins and Linda Richard, who agreed to pay their attorney a one-third contingency fee, sued Noltensmeier for breach of fiduciary duty and conversion.

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The plaintiff, Maria Papadakis, was injured when she slipped and fell on an unsecured piece of equipment while exercising at the defendant health club under the supervision of the personal trainer. The court was found to have erred in dismissing counts alleging willful and wanton acts by the personal trainer; it was sufficiently pleaded in the complaint of respondeat superior liability for willful and wanton conduct and negligence of the personal trainer.

Papadakis sued the health club, its corporate affiliate and the personal trainer, Chad Drake, for negligence and willful and wanton conduct. She also sued the Fitness 19 Defendants under a theory of respondeat superior for the conduct of their employee, Drake.

The trial court dismissed the direct claims of willful and wanton conduct against the Fitness 19 Defendants but left intact the willful-and-wanton allegations against the personal trainer, Drake. That was the ruling that was challenged in this appeal.

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In August 2013, Matthew and Marcia Seebachan bought a used 2010 Honda Fit from a car dealer relying on a CARFAX vehicle report that showed that the car had a clean history with no structural repairs or hail damage.

Unbeknownst to the Seebachans, the Honda’s previous owner had taken the vehicle to John Eagle Collision Center in 2012 to repair hail damage to its roof.  Instead of being welded with a new steel roof using 108 welds, as specified by the Honda Corp., this collision center used a glue-like adhesive to attach the new roof.

In December 2013, the Seebachans were traveling on a highway when a Toyota pickup truck hydroplaned and struck the Honda head on. On impact, the Honda’s roof separated from the body of the vehicle. The roof separation set off a chain of structural failures: the safety cage collapsed, the driver’s side roof rail deformed; and the rocker panel underneath the vehicle collapsed, puncturing the gas tank beneath the driver’s seat.

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Perry Odom was seriously injured when a semi-trailer collapsed on him at his job.

His employer was Penske Logistics. However, this employer did not own the trailer; his employer’s sole shareholder, Penske Truck Leasing, was the owner.

Odom and his wife brought a lawsuit against Penske Truck Leasing through a personal injury action filed in the U.S. Federal District Court. The district court judge dismissed the Odoms’ complaint, reasoning that under state law, the Workers’ Compensation Act applied to shield the employer’s stockholders from employee claims arising out of a workplace injury.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago addressed the issue of the need for expert testimony on causation when the issue is beyond the understanding of laypersons.

The product liability claim here involved the allegation of a defective intrauterine device (IUD) that broke when it was removed from the plaintiff’s uterus, leaving a fragment of it behind.

Cheryl Dalton sued Teva North America, the manufacturer and distributor of the ParaGard, the IUD.

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In 2011, the Texas Legislature adopted a new congressional districting plan and new district team maps for the two houses of the State Legislature to account for population growth shown in the 2010 census. In order to comply with the Equal Protection Clause, the Fourteenth Amendment forbids “racial gerrymandering,” that is, intentionally assigning citizens to a district on the basis of race without sufficient justification.  Shaw v. Reno, 509 U.S. 630, 641.

The Court stated that other legal requirements tend to require that state legislatures consider race in drawing districts. Like all states, Texas is subject to ¶2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), which is violated when a state districting plan provides “less opportunity for racial minorities “to elect representatives of their choice,” League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry, 548 U.S. 399 (425).

At the time, Texas was also subject to ¶5, which barred it from making any districting changes unless it could prove that they did not result in retrogression with respect to the ability of racial minorities to elect the candidates of their choice. Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama, 575 U.S. ____, _____.

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In 2012, Justin Dominguez, 15, was playing with friends in a neighbor’s yard. The neighbor’s house was located next to a vacant spot that contained bamboo stalks under a 13,000-volt, uninsulated power line.

Justin climbed up the bamboo stalks, which contacted the power line. He received a severe electric shock and was hospitalized. He unfortunately remained in a coma until he died approximately two weeks later. He was survived by his mother.

Justin’s mother, on behalf of his estate, sued Florida Power & Light Co., alleging it negligently chose not to remove the bamboo despite a 2008 work order and written report to the defendants’ lead arborist identifying the location as a critical removal site. The Dominguez family asserted that Florida Power & Light had a duty to clear its line of vegetation, especially bamboo, which is highly conductive and fast-growing.

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Diego Rodrigues Matos, 26, needed a truck replacement part to use for his landscaping business. He went to a truck lot owned by Rechtien International Trucks and showed an employee there a picture of the part that he needed. The employee directed him to drive around the lot in search of a truck similar to his so that he could identify the exact part that would need to be ordered.

Matos later found a truck, opened its unlocked door, and raised the truck’s bed. While Matos was lying under the vehicle’s chassis, the truck bed descended, pinning him down and crushing his neck. Matos, a father of one minor child, died from his injuries.

Matos’s fiancé, on behalf of his estate and the couple’s child, sued Rechtien International alleging liability for, among other things, choosing not to warn that the truck bed posed a dangerous condition, failed to lock the doors of the truck located on its property, and failed to accompany Matos around the property in search of the truck replacement part. The lawsuit did not claim lost income.

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On Aug. 7, 2013, Jessica Williams, 27, was stopped in traffic on eastbound Route 143 at the intersection with Blackburn Road in Edwardsville, Ill. The defendant, 29-year-old Jacob Smith, rear-ended the car she was driving. She sustained soft tissue injuries that required chiropractic treatment resulting in a total of $13,287 in medical expenses. Williams contended that the defendant, Smith, had a duty to exercise reasonable care and caution to avoid the crash and that he chose not to follow the rules of the road.

The defendant denied that Williams was injured in this collision.

Before trial, Smith’s insurance company offered $11,000 to settle the case. The jury was asked to return a verdict of $50,000.

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On June 14, 2018, the Union League of Chicago’s Public Affairs Committee’s Administration of Justice Subcommittee, chaired by Kreisman Law Offices’ principal Robert D. Kreisman, visited the Restorative Justice Community Court (RJCC), a criminal court in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood.

Members of the committee observed a court session and met with RJCC Judge Colleen Sheehan. They discussed how this alternative court gives youth ages 18 to 26 in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago who are charged with non-violent offenses an opportunity to turn their lives around through this program.

The restorative justice idea is to not just punish those who have committed a crime and are convicted. The idea is restore these individuals to a way of life that can be productive for the community in which they reside, in this case the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago.  Education, job training, resume development and drug treatment are avenues available to those who agree to pass through this system.

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