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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An appellate court has ruled that Cook County is an appropriate venue for a lawsuit that involved a truck crash in Ohio and a company that primarily does its business out of a southern Illinois town.

The Illinois First District Appellate Court found that plaintiff Sergiu Tabirta’s lawsuit against driver James Cummings and Gilster Mary Lee Corp. (GML) can go forward in the Circuit Court of Cook County because GML does business in Cook County. GML is a private-label food manufacturer headquartered in Chester, Ill., which is located 62 miles south of St. Louis along the Mississippi River. GML employed a Cook County resident, James Bolton, who worked out of his home as GML’s “point person” for three customers – Aldi, Central Grocery and Sears/Kmart.

Bolton’s home could be considered an “other office” in Cook County, meaning Tabirta’s lawsuit against the company could proceed in Cook County as the Illinois Appellate Court of the First District found.

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Six investors in Lancelot Investors, a Cayman Islands hedge fund, were suckered by the operator of a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme. They sued Lancelot’s auditors in Cook County, where the offshore company is headquartered. The lawsuit alleged that fraudulent and negligent audit reports duped the six investors into pumping $79 million into Lancelot from 2004 to 2008, when the pyramid scheme was imploded, wiping out their investment.

However, the trial judge concluded that the internal-affairs doctrine required application of the United Kingdom’s “reflective loss” rule granted the defendants’’ motion to dismiss based on the investors’ lack of standing.

Applying Illinois law, the appellate court explained that there is “no meaningful difference” between “the shareholder standing rule followed in Illinois” and the U.K.’s reflective loss doctrine. And looking at the essence of the complaint, the Illinois Appellate Court for the First District reversed because “Lancelot’s conduct and the like have not been put at issue” and the plaintiffs were pursuing “a direct claim involving accounting fraud and misrepresentation that occurred in Illinois,” not “an indirect claim implicating the internal affairs of the Cayman Islands hedge fund.”

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Frank Russo appealed from an order that wiped out his $9.9 million jury verdict against Corey Steel. In this case, the trial judge stepped aside during the post-trial proceedings and Corey Steel’s request for a new trial was granted by a second judge. This was based on his disagreement with the first judge’s ruling on expert testimony.

The amount of damages was the only question for the jury to consider in this admitted-liability, personal-injury lawsuit. Russo, who had hip surgery after an incident caused by a Corey Steel employee, wanted to present testimony from Jeffrey Coe, a physician who also has a Ph.D. in occupational medicine. In his testimony, Dr. Coe would have stated that it is reasonably likely Russo will need an additional hip surgery in the future.

Corey Steel’s lawyer objected because Dr. Coe’s specialty is occupational medicine, not orthopedic surgery; however, the trial judge nonetheless permitted his testimony.

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In the wrongful death case for Lee Lindemann, filed on behalf of the Estate of Sue Ann Lindemann, the U.S. District Court ruled that estoppel blocked National Fire & Marine Insurance Co. from invoking a “declining balance” provision in its insurance policy. This was done to reduce its $1 million liability limit to $600,000, by subtracting the $400,000 National paid to the defense expenses during the two years of litigation.

National’s policy covered Dr. Erick Falconer in this wrongful death case and another defendant, Western Healthcare. In May 2013, the answer that Falconer’s attorney submitted to “Interrogatory 9,” said he was insured under a National policy that had a $1 million liability limit.

But when responding to her request for a copy of the insurance policy, Dr. Falconer’s attorneys reportedly took a shortcut: they referred back to this interrogatory answer. This maneuver meant the litigants didn’t see the policy provision that ordinarily would have reduced the liability limit by the amount of defense expenditures.

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The question in this case, which was posed to the Illinois Appellate Court, was: “Does the trial court have discretion to permit a Rule 215 medical examiner to testify when the attorney for the party examined has not been served with the examiner’s report within the time specified by Rule 215(c)?”

The answer the Illinois Appellate Court gave in conclusion was “No.”

The ruling came despite a violation of the portion of the Illinois Supreme Court Rule 215 that requires a physician who was hired by the defendant ‘s attorney to conduct a medical examination of the plaintiff to send a copy of his report to the plaintiff’s attorney within 21 days of the checkup – and despite the fact that the third sentence of Rule 215(c) prescribes exclusion as the automatic remedy for a violation of this deadline. In this case, a circuit court judge in Madison County, Ill., denied Linda Batson’s motion to bar Dr. Mitchell Rotman from testifying in her personal injury case against Schindler Elevator Corp. The judge certified the question of law for immediate appeal.

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BNSF Railway Co. (BNSF) appealed the denial of its motion for summary judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) following a jury trial and judgment, which granted Thomas and Dana Tubbs $2,598,000 in actual damages and $1,231,000 in punitive damages. The jury verdict and judgment were for BNSF’s negligence in choosing not to provide adequate drainage for a portion of railroad track that bisected the Tubbses’ farm.

The verdict was affirmed in this case by the Missouri Appellate Court. “The Tubbses own and operate a farm in a floodplain near the Missouri River in Holt County, Mo.”

. . . BNSF, an interstate freight railroad, owns and operates a track that runs east and west along the floodplain and bisects the Tubbses’ farm. The track sits atop an earthen embankment, which was originally rebuilt in 1887.

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