Articles Posted in Premises Accidents

In 1993, the Luther Village Owners Corp. contacted Ken Bruce to see if he was interested in running a salon in their neighborhood. Bruce took ownership of the salon in 1994 and in 1996 formed Creative Designers, a corporation, which would run the salon. Bruce was president and operator of the salon.

Creative Designers employed all of the hairstylists who worked at the salon as independent contractors on one-year contracts. One of the stylists was the plaintiff, Ghada Hanna, who was hired in 2008.

The salon where Hanna worked was renovated by Luther Village in 2008. A series of “flip-top countertops” were installed, which could be tilted and locked into an upright position to allow increased reach and then be lowered again for counter space. Maintenance and modifications to the salon fixtures, including the countertops, was carried out by Luther Village.

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Cook County appealed an order entered by the Circuit Court judge that struck, dismissed and extinguished a hospital lien arising under the Healthcare Services and Lien Act (Act) (770 ILCS 23/1 et seq.) for services rendered to the plaintiff, minor child Akeem Manago, by Stroger Cook County Hospital.

On appeal, the county argued that the Circuit Court judge’s decision was wrong in extinguishing the lien, arguing (1) it was not required to intervene in plaintiff’s personal injury action against defendants Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) and H.J. Russell & Company, (2) a hospital lien may be enforced against a minor, and (3) the hospital lien may attach to a judgment but does not include an award of damages for medical expenses. The appeals panel’s decision relied in part on the fact that Akeem’s parent, April Pritchett, did not assign her cause of action for medical expenses to the injured minor plaintiff and thus the county does not have a lien under the act.

The underlying case arose out of injuries that Akeem sustained on Aug. 5, 2005 while he was a minor. The hospital (Stroger Cook County Hospital) provided care and treatment to Akeem for these injuries on various dates from August 2005 through September 2010. The hospital filed a notice of lien against the plaintiff for unpaid hospital bills on Aug. 10, 2009. The notice of lien was forwarded to the attorney for the plaintiff by certified mail. The enforceability of the lien against a judgment entered by the Circuit Court in the plaintiff’s underlying personal injury lawsuit is the subject of the appeal.

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Richard Black worked for a hospital’s housekeeping staff.  He went to the loading dock to throw away trash into a dumpster.  Richard Cea, an employee of Royal Carting Service Co., had just delivered the dumpster.  It was still attached to the back of his truck.

As Black was throwing trash in the dumpster while standing with one foot on the loading dock and the other on the edge of the dumpster, Cea suddenly moved his truck. The dumpster moved away from the dock and Black fell. Cea then reversed the truck, causing the dumpster to hit Black’s left knee.

Black, 55, suffered a fractured distal femur. The femur bone is the largest bone in the human body. It is also known as the thigh bone. Black underwent open reduction and internal fixation followed by extensive physical therapy. The non-union of the femur necessitated revision surgery and the application of a bone graft. Black underwent additional physical therapy but later developed arthritis in his knee, and that required a total knee replacement.

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On Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011, at 4:45 a.m., 22-year-old Patrycja Wysckowska fell 30 feet to her death after trying to navigate an outside ladder on the third-floor rear porch of an apartment building at 4310 N. Sheridan Road in Chicago.

The apartment complex is known as Park Shores and was owned and managed by the defendants, American Heritage Investment II and Group Fox Inc. The woman had reportedly had been attending a party at the building and was trying to climb up to the roof. She was survived by her parents and two siblings.

Her family filed this wrongful death lawsuit against these defendants contending that the ladder was unsafe and one of the rungs snapped while she was on the ladder causing her to fall.

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Sam Eddins was 81 and used an electric wheelchair to get around. He was in the process of crossing a street at a crosswalk in a controlled intersection. The defendant Eileen Jagger was driving her sedan when she turned left and crashed into Eddins in his wheelchair. Eddins suffered injuries including head trauma, shoulder dislocations and limb fractures.

He was taken from the scene to a nearby hospital where he later suffered cardiac arrest and died. His medical expenses totaled $879,900. He was survived by 3 adult children.

The Eddins family sued Jagger and her husband claiming that her choosing not to keep a proper lookout was the reason and the cause for the crash and subsequent injuries and death of Eddins.

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Raymond Berke fell in the vestibule of an apartment building where he and his wife were staying with friends. A doorman heard but did not see him fall. There were no eyewitnesses. He suffered spinal injuries that rendered him a quadriplegic. He has no memory of his fall.

Berke filed a lawsuit against the building owner and the management company claiming that the vestibule area, stairs and doorway, in particular, were improperly designed and maintained and were a direct and proximate cause of his injuries.  His wife brought a loss of consortium claims against both defendants.

The defendants moved for summary judgment. The trial judge entered judgment in their favor. The Berkes argued that they presented sufficient admissible evidence to support their prima facie case of premises liability that would preclude summary judgment. They also contended that the trial court erred in striking parts of their expert witness affidavits, submitted in support of their response to defendants’ summary judgment motion and that the court should have granted their motion to cite supplemental authority.

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A Chicago real estate developer, Perry Casalino, hired Ramon Gavina as a laborer to install wallpaper inside the entrance of a building at 1513 N. Western Ave. in Chicago. Gavia maintained that Casalino purchased materials and tools, instructed him as to how to perform the work and told him to climb up on a scaffold to hang the wallpaper.

When Gavina climbed on top of the scaffolding on Jan. 14, 2009, it collapsed. He fell to the ground and sustained a tibial plateau fracture in his knee.  The injury will require surgery as recommended by his orthopedic surgeon.

Gavina sued Casalino and his company. Casalino and, on behalf of his development company, denied that he was present at the time of the incident, denied that he owned the scaffolding and denied knowing the owner of the scaffold.

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Robert Kinstner was a forklift and machine operator employed by a masonry subcontractor working at the construction site for a new police station at 3600 N. Halsted St. in Chicago. The defendant in this case was Harbour Contractors Inc., which was the general contractor for the construction of this building. On Feb. 9, 2010, Kinstner, 42, slipped and fell on a deep rut that was covered with ice and snow. Kinstner suffered a broken ankle with disruption of the syndesmosis joint, requiring open reduction internal fixation followed by arthroscopic surgery eight months later.

He claimed that he developed complex regional pain syndrome shortly after his injury, which prevented him from working in any capacity since the date of this occurrence. He stated that because of the injury he was unable to stand and walk for any length of time. Kinstner asserted that he lost earnings and benefits of between $751,000 and nearly $2 million. He also made a claim for more than $3 million in future loss of earnings and benefits.

Kinstner maintained that the unsafe and uneven ground conditions at the work site had existed for several weeks before his injury.  He claimed that the area was a means of access for machinery and equipment but it had not been properly stoned or leveled for workers’ safety by the general contractor. Photographs of the scene taken shortly after the incident showed the presence of the ruts and uneven ground.

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On Jan. 17, 2011, Susan Buckel was at Villa Olivia, a ski hill in the far west Chicago suburban town of Bartlett, Ill. She had purchased a ticket to snow tube on a hill, but as she moved to sit down on the tube, a sharp object that was part of the tube implanted itself in the ground and caused her to come to a sudden stop.

While Buckel was stopped, another snow tube struck her from behind and injured her.  On Jan. 4, 2013, Buckel filed a lawsuit against Villa Olivia, Tube Pro Inc. “unknown snow tube manufacturer” and “unknown owners and non-record claimants.” Buckel later voluntarily dismissed Villa Olivia as a party defendant.

In the lawsuit, Buckel alleged that her tube was defective and that this defect caused it to suddenly stop on the hill, endangering her and proximately causing her injuries.  She alleged negligence against Tube Pro, claiming that it “negligently designed, manufactured, distributed and sold the snow tube equipment without appropriate safeguarding and an adequate warning label.”

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On Dec. 16, 2009, Terry Smith was employed by Sycamore Specialized Carriers.  He drove his tractor-trailer to the defendant Casini Warehousing Corp.’s warehouse in Bensenville, Ill. Casini’s personnel used an overhead crane to load an injection molding machine onto Smith’s step-deck trailer.

After the injection molding machine was loaded onto the step-deck, Smith was attempting to cover it with a 20-foot by 20-foot tarp that weighed 150 pounds. While he was attempting to cover the machine, he fell from the top of the machine to the ground.

In the lawsuit that Smith filed, he argued that the trucking industry custom and practice required Casini Warehousing to use its crane to assist him in draping the heavy tarp over the machinery. Smith said that he asked Casini workers for assistance, but they refused and chose to go to lunch instead.

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