Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

The Illinois Appellate Court has found no abuse of discretion where the factors were not delineated in an order when a Cook County judge dismissed a case because of forum non conveniens.

In this case, on Oct. 24, 2013, in Belvidere, Ill., there was a crash involving a car driven by Kenneth Kazort and a garbage truck driven by an operator from Advanced Disposal Services Solid Waste LLC. The garbage truck driver was John Padgett. Padgett was alleged to have backed into a driveway in order to turn around and move on to the next resident. When the garbage truck pulled out, Kazort, who was out of view, was blocked by “numerous large trees, a recreational vehicle, vegetation and other foliage.”

As the garbage truck pulled out into the street, Kazort’s car and the truck crashed into each other, killing Kazort. Malinda Ruch was appointed administrator of the Kazort estate and filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County claiming negligence on the part of Padgett and on his employer Advanced Disposal.

Continue reading

In July 2009, Clarence Walker was trying to gain access to a broken elevator at 365 W. Oak St., Chicago, Ill., from the third floor of what was then Cabrini-Green in the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) building. The apartment building has since been torn down. At the time of the incident, the building was managed by It’s Time for a Change RMC. The company was a non-profit management firm run by building residents.

A witness testified that when Walker opened the third-floor elevator-shaft doors, he stepped forward and disappeared down the shaft. His body was found in the pit at the shaft’s bottom.

Celeste Walker, daughter of Clarence Walker, filed the wrongful-death lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County. She alleged in the lawsuit that CHA and the RMC management company chose not to service and maintain the elevator and chose not to warn residents about the elevator’s hazardous condition.

Continue reading

Illinois Tool Works purchased commercial liability policies many years ago from Travelers Casualty Surety Co. and Century Indemnity Co. They were purchased by Illinois Tool Works for the years 1971 through 1987.The policies were designed to have the insurance companies defend Illinois Tool Works against toxic-tort injury complaints that did not allege dates or exposure or injury.

The insurance companies reportedly declined to defend Illinois Tool in thousands of toxic-tort cases in which the plaintiffs alleged that their injuries were caused by exposure to hazardous substances, which included asbestos, benzene and manganese in welding supplies and other products distributed by other companies Illinois Tool started buying in 1993. According to the facts in the case, Illinois Tool did not enter the welding product market until 1993, while the last insurance policy that was issued expired in 1987.

A Cook County judge granted Illinois Tool’s request for summary judgment. On appeal, the tort complaints were characterized this way: Continue reading

√On Nov. 4, 2008, Ulrika Bjorkstam and Joseph Daniel Dray were injured in a plane crash in Mexico City.

On Nov. 3, 2009, the two injured parties filed a lawsuit against MPC Products Corp and Woodward Inc., which manufactured the horizontal stabilizer actuator that the plaintiffs alleged was faulty in the plane in which they were traveling.

MPC and Woodward’s principal place of business was in Illinois. However, the companies moved for a dismissal on the grounds of forum non conveniens, arguing that Harris County, Texas, was the more appropriate forum for this case. Forum non conveniens is Latin term used in the law that pertains to the place that is considered most convenient for the parties, discovery of the facts of the case and the eventual trial. In Illinois, the legal concept of forum non conveniens is discretionary with the judge presiding. The factors of the place of the controversy, the witnesses’ location, the residence of the defendant, the location of the place where a contract was made and other similar issues are weighed by the court if the venue of the case is challenged.

Continue reading

Thirteen-week-old Kevin Hernandez underwent colon surgery.  After surgery, Kevin experienced chronic diarrhea and vomiting.  He was taken to a hospital emergency department where he was diagnosed with dehydration.  Kevin was treated over the next 23 hours by the administration of fluids.  He was shortly thereafter discharged from the hospital.

Sadly, two days later, Kevin died of dehydration.  He was survived by his parents and an older sibling.

Kevin’s mother, individually and on behalf of Kevin’s estate, sued the family physician, Reynaldo Caluag, M.D., who treated Kevin during his hospital stay.  Dr. Caluag’s employer was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.  The complaint brought against the doctor and his employer alleged that Dr. Caluag chose not to properly treat Kevin for dehydration and instead discharged him prematurely without giving adequate home care instructions to his parents.

Continue reading