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.

Continue reading

Julio Martinez-Carassco was working for Ronell Managed Services LLC, a company that cleans and services industrial equipment.  The Ronell company sent Martinez-Carassco to work at the Premio Foods Inc. processing plant. The plant’s equipment included an industrial blending and mixing machine manufactured by Apache Stainless Group.

As the mixer’s large metal paddles were turning, Martinez-Carassco began washing the machine’s opened discharge doors with a hose. The moving panels contacted Martinez-Carassco’s hose pulling his left arm into the mixer and severing the arm below the elbow.

Emergency room physicians attempted, but were unable to reattach the arm. Unfortunately, the arm was surgically amputated at the elbow. Although he was fitted for prosthesis, he rarely wears it. Martinez-Carassco’s medical expenses totaled approximately $300,000.

Continue reading

In this case, Giuseppina DiFranco was driving in stop-and-go traffic when her car was struck from behind by the car driven by Constance Kusar. The DiFranco car then hit the car in front of her making her knee strike the dashboard and jerking her back and forth.

Right after the crash, DiFranco said she had neck, back and arm pain and was taken by ambulance to Glen Oaks Hospital in Glendale Heights, Ill.

Over the next months, she was treated for tenderness at the lower back and right pelvis. She reported moderate pain; the treating physician concluded that she had a cervical strain, arm strain, forearm strain and back strain. The doctor recommended physical therapy and pain relievers. After months of physical therapy and other treatment, DiFranco was diagnosed after an electromyogram with a pinched nerve in her cervical area related to the crash of June 9, 2011.

Continue reading

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.”

Continue reading

Noemi Mendez, 15, was walking home from school with her older brother Elias.  As they were crossing the street in the crosswalk, the driver of a tractor-trailer truck began turning right into that intersection. The truck hit Noemi and the trailer’s rear wheels rolled over her. She died at the scene. Noemi is survived by her brother Elias, an older sister and her parents. In addition to the death of Noemi, her brother Elias, who was 18 at the time, suffered severe emotional distress due to witnessing his sister’s fatal injury.

Noemi’s family sued the truck driver and the trucking company, alleging that the driver was negligent and chose not to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. The Mendez family asserted that Noemi and Elias entered the intersection on a green light with a pedestrian “walk” signal and that they were already well into the intersection when the truck struck Noemi.

The parties had stipulated that the truck driver was in the scope and course of his employment. The parties presented a surveillance video recorded by a corner convenience store that captured some of the events at a distance. Although the video was of poor quality, the Mendez family maintained that it showed that Noemi and her brother were at the intersection at least 30 seconds before the truck arrived in the intersection.

Continue reading

Billy Dickson was an engineer for Bell Helicopter Textron’s plant in Hurst, Texas. He held this position for the better part of 38 years. From 1962 to the late 1970s, he was exposed to asbestos through hands-on work.

He was also indirectly exposed as nearby workers sanded asbestos-containing adhesives.

Dickson, who wore no respiratory protection, was frequently surrounded by clouds of asbestos dust.

Continue reading

Samuel Kim was riding his skateboard in Cerritos, Calif. As he entered an intersection on a green light and began crossing at the crosswalk, Arsham Baltayan, who was driving a car in the scope and course of his job with a car dealership, turned right into the intersection on a red light. Kim was unable to stop in time and struck the right passenger side of Baltayan’s vehicle.

Kim was just 14 years old at the time and was not wearing a helmet. He was thrown to the pavement and suffered a traumatic brain injury. The brain injury has resulted in personality and behavioral changes.

When he reached the age of majority, he sued Baltayan and the automobile dealership claiming that Baltayan was negligent in choosing not to keep a proper lookout and yield to a skateboarder with the right-of-way in the crosswalk.

Continue reading

The Illinois Appellate Court has upheld a record-breaking $21.4 million jury verdict for a railroad conductor after his heel was irreparably damaged at a railyard.

The Illinois Appellate Court for the 1st District rejected all of Norfolk Southern Railway Co.‘s attempts to either vacate or reduce the verdict signed by the jury in favor of the plaintiff Michael Parsons.

The November 2015 jury verdict was the largest reported verdict or settlement for a heel-related injury in Cook County. Norfolk Southern was unable to persuade the 1st District Illinois Appellate Court that the jury’s verdict went against the manifest weight of the evidence and that the defendant railroad was prejudiced by the jury instructions.

Continue reading

A Cook County jury’s not-guilty verdict for Tinley Park Roller Rink, a south suburban roller rink, will stand after the Illinois Appellate Court reversed a trial court’s order of a new trial. The appeals panel stated that there was nothing wrong with the jury instructions allowed by the trial judge that were used by the jury to reach its verdict.

In March 2016, the trial judge ordered a new trial for the plaintiff Marie Largen who filed a lawsuit alleging negligence against the Tinley Park Roller Rink citing a potentially confusing Illinois Civil Jury Pattern Instruction (IPI) 60.01 that quoted the entire Roller Skating Rink Safety Act and may have thrown jurors off during their deliberations.

The Illinois Appellate Court reversed the trial judge’s order for a new trial on plaintiff’s post-trial motion in a unanimous decision. The appeals panel rejected Largen’s counsel’s argument that including the statute’s assumed-risk language asked the jurors to answer a purely legal question when reaching its decision.

Continue reading

A 10-year-old girl, identified as E.H., was with her family at Dehn’s Pumpkins, a Minnesota pumpkin patch. The facility included a petting zoo in which children could pet the cows housed in a feedlot behind a metal gate. E.H. spent some time feeding the cows.

Several days later, E.H. began suffering fever, cramps and diarrhea. When her symptoms worsened, E.H.’s parents took her to a hospital emergency room where the staff diagnosed an E. coli infection.

The E. coli infection led to hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a severe complication that results when toxins from the bacteria enters the patient’s bloodstream and finds its way to the kidneys.

Continue reading