Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Plaintiff Wendy Dolin, the wife of the decedent, Stewart Dolin, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago alleging that the death of her husband, Stewart Dolin, was caused by the taking of the generic drug paroxetine, a form of the antidepressant Paxil. Stewart Dolin committed suicide at age 57 on July 15, 2010.

In the lawsuit, it was alleged that the labeling of the drug that was in existence at the time of his death did not warn of the drug’s association with an increased risk of suicidal behavior in adults. It was alleged that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the manufacturer and parent corporation of this drug, had knowledge of a statistically significant 6.7 times greater risk of suicide in adults of all ages. As a matter of fact, it was alleged that the label stated the opposite – that the suicidal risk did not extend beyond the age of 24.

The prescription medication Paxil (paroxetine hydrochloride or “Paxil”) is one of the class of medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.

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Edgar Gonzalez was a construction worker employed by a commercial contractor.  While working at a project commissioned by the city of Los Angeles, he was  erecting a wall-forming system used to support poured concrete. Gonzalez, 30, climbed to the top of a 30-foot form panel; the panel gave way.  He fell to the ground where he suffered fatal injuries. Gonzalez was survived by his wife and two minor children.

The Gonzalez family sued Atlas Construction Supply Inc., the designer of the wall- forming system and the supplier of its component parts.  The lawsuit claimed that the system had been defective. The defendant Atlas Construction denied responsibility and maintained that Gonzalez’s injuries and death resulted from the negligence of the general contractor, the city of Los Angeles, and the crane operator who placed the wall form panel in that location.

The jury entered a verdict for $27 million apportioning liability at 55% to Atlas and 45% to the general contractor.

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A jury found that the mesothelioma contracted by James Lester Phillips was caused in part by exposure to asbestos contained in Bendix brakes. In an appeal, Honeywell challenged the $5.8 million awarded to Phillips’s wife and surviving children.

In the published portion of the appellate opinion, the court rejected Honeywell’s claims of evidentiary error, concluding that the trial court properly admitted a 1966 letter of a Bendix employee sarcastically addressing an article in Chemical Week magazine that stated asbestos had been accused, but not yet convicted, of being a significant health hazard.

The court reasoned that the letter was circumstantial evidence relevant to the issue of Bendix’s awareness of asbestos’s potential to cause cancer. The court noted that Illinois and Florida cases holding admission of this letter was prejudicial were distinguishable because they did not include the important limiting instruction to the jury.

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Harvey Chernikoff, who had intellectual disabilities and schizophrenia, lived with his parents and took a bus to his workshop job on a paratransit bus operated by First Transit Inc.  To safeguard passengers with disabilities from choking, the bus company’s rules prohibit passengers from eating or drinking.

However, one day, Chernikoff was eating on the bus and began choking. He was the only passenger on the bus and was seated right behind the driver. He was unable to speak with his airway obstructed, so he reached for help. More than three minutes passed before the driver noticed Chernikoff slumped in the aisle, unconscious. The bus driver, who was not trained in CPR, the Heimlich maneuver or other basic first-aid measures, called his dispatcher, which called 911.

Because of traffic, more than 8 minutes passed before an emergency medical team arrived. By that time, Chernikoff had died. He is survived by his parents and one adult brother.

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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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A bill signed into law decrees that cars and bikes must be treated as equals in Illinois. House Bill 5912 was signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner. The measure amends the Illinois Vehicle Code.  According to a recent report by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, the amendment to the code was prompted by the death of Dennis Jurs, a 68-year-old Army veteran who was biking when he was hit by a vehicle in Kane County last year.  Jurs’s death occurred at an intersection where north and southbound drivers have stop signs, but east and westbound vehicles did not.

In the October 2015 case, the driver of the car was charged with a failure to yield, but the case was dismissed when the Kane County judge ruled that there were conflicting rulings showing that bicyclists did not have the same rights as automobiles under Illinois law.

According to the article, the Jurs family, with their attorney Michael S. Keating, drafted the amendment to the Illinois Vehicle Code and pushed for its passage.

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Karen Ann Whitaker was 60 when she started home from the church where she worked as a daycare teacher. Driving alone, she exited the church parking lot and turned onto the adjacent road. As she entered the northbound lane, southbound trucker Clarence Risher, who was driving a tractor-trailer while under the influence of methamphetamine, lost control of his truck.

The Risher truck jackknifed and crossed the center line. In doing so, the truck broadsided Whitaker’s car. She died on impact. She is survived by her husband, four adult children and five grandchildren.

Earlier on the day of this crash, Risher had delivered a load of chickens for House of Raeford Farms Inc., which had hired his employer, CRE Trucking LLC, as an independent contractor, to transport the chickens. Risher pleaded guilty to DUI involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving and operating without a valid driver’s license, among other serious criminal charges. He was also sentenced to 4 years in prison for this accident.

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Jeffrey Stewart was an 18-year-old student at Oswego High School at 4250 Route 71 in Oswego, Ill.  He had a known history of asthma. On Feb. 13, 2008, Jeffrey was attending a class when he experienced difficulty breathing, wheezing and collapsed. A teacher sent students to get the school’s nurse but did not immediately call 911. When the nurse arrived at the classroom, she found Jeffrey was not breathing and had no pulse. The nurse told the teacher to call 911. Instead, the teacher reportedly called the nurse’s office and asked a staff member who answered to call 911. The call to 911 was eventually made, but only after a more than significant amount of time had elapsed.

Unfortunately, Jeffrey never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead.  He was survived by his parents and one sibling.

The coroner’s office ruled the cause of death was acute bronchial asthma.

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On May 24, 2011, Michael Racky was bicycling across 95th Street at LaCrosse Avenue in Oak Lawn, Ill. He jumped his bike over a 12-inch curb at the southwest corner to reach the sidewalk. There, the bike slowed and wobbled due to the loss of momentum.

Racky was 52 years old at the time. He continued riding south parallel to a commercial building, Karnezis Properties Plaza, when he extended his left arm and his right hand lightly touched a large, plate-glass storefront window while he attempted to retain his balance on his bike.

As he touched the window, it collapsed. He fell inside the storefront with his legs draped over the broken glass. His left leg was cut to the bone. An eyewitness to the incident, an off-duty Chicago Fire Department paramedic, tried without success to apply a tourniquet to Racky’s leg.

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