Articles Posted in Illinois Civil Procedure

Teresa Mroczko was employed by A & R Janitorial to do custodial work.  On Aug. 17, 2012, she was injured while working at an Illinois Blue Cross/Blue Shield building. A desk, which had been moved during the renovation of the building, fell on her and she was injured.

Pepper Construction Co. had been hired to renovate the building and had subcontracted for replacing the carpets to another defendant in this case, Perez & Associates. Perez had moved the desk in the course of replacing the carpets.

Mroczko filed a workers’ compensation claim against A & R Janitorial, her employer and was granted relief, although the claim is currently being reviewed on appeal.

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During the discovery of this lawsuit, Scarlett Palm argued that she was entitled to the medical records of defendant Ruben Holocker based on the exception to the physician-patient privilege for “action brought by or against the patient . . . wherein the patient’s physical and mental condition is an issue.” 735 ILCS 5/8-802(4).

She was injured when she was struck by the vehicle driven by Holocker when she stepped into a crosswalk. Palm invoked the “at issue” exception based on evidence that, in the 20 years before Holocker allegedly injured Palm, he was involved in seven or eight auto accidents; he also accumulated a dozen traffic tickets; and, because of his diabetes, he had to submit a physician’s “letter of approval” to qualify for a driver’s license.

The trial court agreed with Palm and granted her motion for permission to subpoena Holocker’s records from his physician — identified by the Illinois Appellate Court as “Dr. Nau” – and the Illinois secretary of state.

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Frank Barnai was injured while he was working for Summit Fire Protection Co. on a construction project. He sued the general contractor, International Contractors Inc. (ICI), the owner, Wal-Mart and electrical subcontractor, Nuline Technologies.  These defendants then brought a third-party action against Summit Fire Protection Co. for contribution.

Summit did not contribute when ICI, Wal-Mart and Nuline settled with Barnai for $5 million. As part of that settlement, the defendants assigned to Barnai their contribution claims against Summit.

Over Summit’s objection, the presiding Cook County judge granted Barnai’s motion for a good-faith finding even though the judge was not informed about how the settlement agreement allocated the $5 million payment between the defendants.

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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.

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In September 2016, we wrote about the Illinois Appellate Court decision in this case, Manago v. County of Cook, 2016 IL App (1st) 121365. In that case, the Illinois Appellate Court found that liens obtained by hospitals under the Hospitals’ Health Care Services Lien Act (770 ILCS 23/1 et seq.) (the “Lien Act”), are not limited to or conditioned upon a finding or allocation for medical expenses for injuries sustained by a minor.

In the underlying case, Manago was a minor and was injured while riding on the roof of an elevator owned by the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA). His next friend and mother, April Pritchett, brought this lawsuit against the CHA, H.J. Russell & Co. and A.N.B. Elevator Services Inc. The complaint sought damages for the child’s injuries and included an allegation pertaining to medical expenses. At the trial, the Manago plaintiff was awarded $200,000 in total although none of the recovery was for medical expenses. The trial court granted the plaintiff’s motion to strike, dismiss and extinguish the hospital’s lien.

On appeal by the County of Cook, the Appellate Court concluded that the lien was invalid for two reasons. First, the mother “did not assign her cause of action for medical expenses for her son even though, pursuant to the Family Expense Act, that action belonged solely to the minor’s parents.”

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A contract was entered into between Beckett Media LLC and OnRamp Technologies to allow Beckett to use OnRamp’s applications and websites for “inventory management and sales solution.” According to the contract, “in the event of any litigation of any controversy or dispute arising out of or related to this agreement, the prevailing party shall be entitled to an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.”

On Oct. 1, 2010, Beckett filed a lawsuit against OnRamp claiming breach of contract, unjust enrichment and violation of the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Consumer Fraud of Deceptive Business Practices Act.

During the trial, the parties voluntarily dismissed the claims about violation of the two deceptive practices act. Beckett filed an amended complaint for unjust enrichment, breach of contract and replevin, seeking the return of its server as well as money damages incurred by OnRamp’s refusal to return the server.

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On July 15, 2008, Friehiwet Tahir was standing on the Chicago Transit Authority’s Argyle L station platform.  As the train approached the station, Friehiwet extended her right arm into the train’s right-of-way. The train struck her elbow. She lost her balance and fell onto the track’s dock where she died.

On July 5, 2011, Meram Tahir, Friehiwet’s sister, filed a lawsuit against CTA alleging wrongful death. Tahir claimed the CTA had been negligent in choosing not to notice Friehiwet, in failing to stop the train, in failing to keep the train under control, in failing to warn Friehiwet by blowing the train horn and warning of the train’s approach. The lawsuit also claimed that the CTA chose not to apply the brakes and failed to take reasonable precautions to avoid the deadly incident

Tahir also alleged negligence in design and maintenance of the platform and public address system. In addition, Tahir charged that the CTA operated the train with “worn and defective equipment . . .at an excessive and dangerous speed.”

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A house fire severely injured two individuals, Estella Wofford and Leo Seay. The fire was caused by longstanding electrical problems. The claims made by Wofford and Seay were hampered because the landlord’s insurance company, its investigators and the contractor it hired to remove the fire debris destroyed important evidence, including electrical wires, a fuse box and outlets.

Wofford and Seay filed a lawsuit against the landlord for negligence within two years. However, their spoliation claim was filed more than two years, but less than five years, after the fire and their injuries.

Based on the case of Schusse v. Pace, 334 Ill.App.3d 960 (2002), Wofford and Seay requested that the court apply the five-year deadline that is provided by Section 13-205 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure. But the presiding judge decided the case following Babich v. River Oaks Toyota, 377 Ill.App.3d 427 (2007) and dismissed the spoliation claim because it was not filed within the two-year deadline set by Section 13-202 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure.

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James Langholf was a truck driver for Howe Freightways Inc. On Sept. 13, 2011, he pulled his truck onto the shoulder of Interstate 80 in Iowa after his tractor-trailer broke down.

Jesse Inman worked for Hanifen Co. Inc. headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, as a heavy-duty tow truck driver. He responded to Langholf’s call, parking his freight line wrecker directly in front of Langholf’s tractor-trailer.

Another Hanifen employee, Daniel Walsh, also responded to the call and parked his tow truck just behind Langholf’s. At that point, Herbert Terrell, a trucker for Hiner Equipment, LLC sideswiped Walsh’s tow truck and then crashed into Langholf’s tractor-trailer.

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On March 22, 2013, James McGinley, a delivery driver at the House of Blues in Chicago, was using a freight elevator to deliver heavy boxes of liquor to that location. However, when he was using the elevator, a descending door struck him and injured him.

He filed a lawsuit against Sysco Corp., pleading that upon his information and belief, a Sysco employee had been delivering goods to the same location earlier that day and had left his key in the elevator, which in turn was the cause of the door descending onto McGinley and injuring him.

McGinley alleged that Sysco was negligent and was also negligent as a common carrier. Sysco argued that it neither owned the premises nor controlled the elevator and thus had no duty of reasonable care to McGinley.

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