Chicago Student Awarded 571,000 From the City of Chicago After Light Pole Injury – Brown v. City of Chicago

On Valentine’s Day, 2007, Noni Brown, an eighth grade honor roll student at Betty Shabazz International Charter School was playing with her teacher and classmates at Grand Crossing Park. However, short time after the class arrived at the park, a 20 foot light pole fell on top of Noni, pinning her to the ground. The light pole was owned by the City of Chicago, who was then the defendant in the Illinois personal injury lawsuit brought as a result of Noni’s injuries; Noni Brown, a minor v. City of Chicago, 07 L 5062.

The 13 year-old Noni was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she was diagnosed with an epidural hematoma, post-ligament disruption at T4-T6, and spinal fractures at C-2, T-5, and T-6. While she did not require surgery to repair her spinal injuries, Noni was at U of C Medical Center for ten days.

At the Chicago personal injury trial, the plaintiff’s attorneys accused the City of Chicago of not taking reasonable efforts to maintain its light pole for several years. The plaintiff contended that the steel light pole had fallen on Noni with no provocation on her part, or by any of her classmates.

Furthermore, the plaintiff’s attorneys submitted expert testimony by a metallurgist to support its claims of negligence by the City of Chicago, along with city maintenance reports that suggested it had deferred maintenance of that light pole. The plaintiff’s were attempting to demonstrate that not only had the City of Chicago failed to maintain the light pole, but were aware that it was in need of repair and had elected not to take any action.

The plaintiff’s attorneys effectively built a strong case against the City of Chicago, which in turn caused the City to admit liability on the first day of trial. In essence, the City was admitting that it had not met its duty to maintain the light pole. However, the City did not make any offer to pay the medical bills or damages claimed by the plaintiff as a result of her personal injury; therefore, the trial continued to allow the jury to decide on damages.

The Chicago jury returned a verdict of $571,082, which included $500,000 for past and future pain and suffering to Noni and her family as a result of the injury and $71,082 for medical expenses. While Noni obviously suffered a traumatic injury, she was able to overcome her serious injuries. She went on to graduate her middle school as the eighth grade class valedictorian and is currently a senior on the honor roll at Chicago’s Walter Payton College Preparatory High School.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Chicago personal injury cases for individuals and families for more than 35 years in and around Chicago and Cook County, including Bedford Park, Waukegan, Arlington Heights, Steger, and Willowbrook.

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