A jury found that the defendant Charles Dahms acted negligently and with willful and wanton misconduct against the plaintiff, Terry Enadeghe, when he beat him with his briefcase during a morning encounter on the street. Dahms appealed arguing that the trial judge erred in relying on his prior criminal conviction for battery as a basis for liability and in denying jury instructions and special interrogatories. Furthermore, the defendant contended that the trial court abused its discretion in denying the defendant’s motions for mistrial and permitting the plaintiff to amend his complaint.
On March 20, 2013, following a criminal jury trial, defendant Dahms was found guilty of aggravated battery on a public way, 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(c), for the incident in this case. He was sentenced to eighteen months’ probation. On appeal, the criminal conviction was affirmed. The Illinois Supreme Court denied the defendant’s petition for leave to appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court denied his petition for certiorari.
The evidence in the criminal case showed that in October 2011, Enadeghe was driving his taxicab in downtown Chicago when he stopped at a traffic light in the middle of the crosswalk, unintentionally blocking it. Dahms, the defendant, then approached and smashed his briefcase into the taxi’s front windshield shattering it and then walked away. Enadeghe parked and confronted Dahms, asking him to survey the damage to his cab. At one point, Enadeghe attempted to block Dahms and grabbed the briefcase. Enadeghe, the plaintiff, then felt a “bang” on his face as Dahms took his briefcase once again, and using it to hit Enadeghe in the nose, knocked him unconscious. Enadeghe was hospitalized and received eleven stitches from the bridge of his nose to under his eye. He later had surgery under general anesthesia. Dahms was subsequently arrested and Enadeghe identified him in a police lineup.