An Illinois jury evaluated a bicycle accident lawsuit to determine not only whether the defendant driver was liable, but also whether her employer was liable in Cedric Bacon v. City of Joliet, Sgt. Cordelia Dunn , 08L-859. The personal injury lawsuit arose out of a bicycle accident in which the defendant, Sgt. Cordelia Dunn, struck the plaintiff’s bicycle while driving 50 mph through an intersection. Sgt. Dunn was responding to a call under her duty as a Joliet Police Officer, thereby making her employer, the Joliet Police Department, liable as well.
Cedric Bacon, the injured bicyclist who brought the personal injury claim against Sgt. Dunn for the injuries he sustained from the Joliet bicycle accident. Bacon required an open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) surgery to repair the broken bones in his right leg; the breaks were so severe that the surgeons needed to place screws and plates to try to stabilize the bones. Despite the surgery, injuries to the surrounding artery and nerves caused Bacon to develop a severe foot drop. In addition, Bacon suffered a severe brain injury and developed subsequent anxiety.
At the personal injury trial, the bulk of the testimony centered on what happened at the intersection accident and whether Sgt. Dunn was acting within the scope of her employment. In an unusual turn of events, Sgt. Dunn refused to testify for her discovery deposition. As a result, the judge barred her from testifying at trial, forcing the defense to find an alternative way to represent Dunn’s versions of the events. To do so, the City of Joliet hired two accident reconstruction experts to reconstruct the intersection accident and testify before the jury at trial.