Chicago Wrongful Death: Lawyer's estate settles $5 million lawsuit

March 11, 2011

According to Wikipedia: Wrongful death is a claim in common law jurisdictions against a person who can be held liable for a death. The claim is brought in a civil action, usually by close relatives, as enumerated by statute. Under common law, a dead person cannot bring a suit, and this created a legal hole in which activities that resulted in a person’s injury would result in civil sanction but activities that resulted in a person’s death would not.

The standard of proof in the United States is typically preponderance of the evidence as opposed to clear and convincing or beyond a reasonable doubt. Wrongful death is also the only recourse available when a company, not an individual, causes the death of a person; for example, historically, families have tried (both successfully and unsuccessfully) to sue tobacco companies for wrongful deaths of their customers.

The estate of a La Salle County attorney killed in a 2009 traffic accident near Streator has settled with a hospital corporation for $5 million.

Rebecca Berry of Streator settled recently with OSF Saint Francis Inc. over the Dec. 16, 2009, death of her husband, 57-year-old Richard J. “Dick” Berry.

Dick Berry died in a two-vehicle accident at Routes 23 and 17, south of Streator, when motorist David A. DeFrance (employers: Mobile Medical Systems, OSF Saint Francis Inc.) failed to halt at a stop sign while headed east on Route 17. DeFrance’s semi struck Richard Berry’s sedan, which was headed north on Route 23.

Berry was a partner in the law firm Myers, Berry, O’Conor & Kuzma Ltd., with offices in Ottawa and Streator.

His estate was represented by partners Robert J. Bingle and Thomas A. Demetrio of Corboy & Demetrio in Chicago. The $5 million settlement is one of the largest single wrongful death settlements in La Salle County.

via News Tribune – News – Local – Lawyer’s estate settles $5 million lawsuit.

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If you or a loved one has been a victim of personal injury in Chicago or the surrounding area, contact or call us at 312-252-5252 for a free no obligation consultation to discuss your legal options.

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Illinois Repeals the Death Penalty

March 10, 2011

This was long overdue. Long overdue for the Government to get our of the vengeance business. It has been proven over and over again that the death penalty is not a deterrent to crimes and in fact, in the countries with no death penalty, the crime rates are lower which goes to show the death penalty has nothing to do with crime reduction. Nor does it serve to reduce recidivism amongst criminals. In essence it is only a political tool to show a candidate is tough on crime.

In reality, the death penalty is only there to serve the needs of the needs of the survivors to help family members to have a closure of some sort–although, psychologists will tell you that it does not even serve that purpose to the extent advertised.

All is all, with the ineffectiveness of the death penalty to combat crime in conjunction with the number of innocent people who have found themselves on the death row, it makes only sense to eliminate this barbaric method of taking a life.

Today, Illinois is expected to officially end the practice of state-sanctioned murder. It only took them 232 years.Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, a supporter of capital punishment, was reportedly on track to sign a bill abolishing the death penalty. The bill has been on his desk since early January, after it cleared the state’s Senate by a vote of 32-25.

Confirmation that the governor would sign the bill came from Rep. Karen Yarbrough D, who told The Chicago Tribune that the governor’s people said it would happen Wednesday.

“They point-blank told me they were signing the bill Wednesday,” she reportedly said.The move to end the state’s long history of official murder was reportedly praised by President Barack Obama, who met with Gov. Quinn last week in the White House. “The governor said Barack had complimented him and the state on our work on civil unions and the death penalty,” state Sen. Kwame Raoul D told The Chicago Sun-Times.Capital punishment has been on hold in Illinois for the last 11 years, after a Republican governor, George Ryan, suspended it.

via Illinois repeals the death penalty | The Raw Story.

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Car Accident Injury-Hit-Run Crash Cost Victim Her Leg

March 9, 2011

This in the news:

A Cook County judge ordered a Chicago woman held in lieu of $100,000 bail Saturday on charges that she drove onto a South Side sidewalk and injured a 58-year-old woman waiting for a bus so severely that doctors had to amputate one of her legs.

Tyreesha Fraley, 21, of the 6500 block of South Claremont Avenue, is charged with failure to report an accident with injuries and several other traffic violations stemming from the crash that occurred last week.

Fraley, who does not have a driver’s license, drove her sedan onto the sidewalk and hit the woman waiting at a bus stop near 69th and State streets just before 4 p.m. Wednesday, prosecutors said.

In addition to the leg that had to be amputated, the victim’s other leg was broken and she suffered several other injuries. She remained in critical condition Saturday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, prosecutors said.

After the accident, Fraley jumped from the car and ran before she was arrested Friday in the 6400 block of South Loomis Boulevard, authorities said.

Hit-run crash cost victim her leg, prosecutors say – Chicago Tribune.

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Premises Liability-City of Chicago to Settle for $1.55M With Boy Badly Hurt by Tree Branch

March 8, 2011

This Chicago premises liability case was in the news:

Chicago taxpayers would pay $1.55 million to the family of a 4-year-old boy who was badly hurt when he was hit in the head by a fallen branch of a parkway tree newly trimmed by city workers, under a settlement advanced Monday by a City Council committee.

The accident that left Jaylen Raggs with a depressed skull fracture and other, lingering problems occurred on March 31, 2006 in the 9300 block of South Elizabeth.

Heavy winds caused the branch to break and fall on Jaylen’s head. The child was taken to Christ Hospital, then transferred to the University of Chicago Hospitals, where he underwent a craniotomy to reduce swelling of the brain.

He remained hospitalized for two and a half weeks, with weakness, muscle spasms and difficulty eating and swallowing. That was followed by months of physical and occupational therapy.

Nearly five years later, Jaylen still suffers from a “permanent left-foot drop that has left him with a slight limp.” His verbal abilities have suffered, and he has fallen behind in school, his experts further argue.

via City to settle for $1.55 million with boy badly hurt by tree branch – Chicago Sun-Times.

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Premises Liability-Slip and Fall-Godfrey Business Owner Sued Over Failure to Fix Broken Pipe

March 7, 2011

In Illinois and with respect to Illinois slip and fall cases, the owner of a property has a duty of reasonable care to provide a safe premises. That is, if the owner has knowledge of a condition whereby the premises are made unsafe, he has a duty to fix it, or warn people about it and/or take any remedial measures a reasonable person would have taken–that is, if the owner has in fact notice of the unsafe condition, although if it can be proven that the unsafe condition was present for a length of time during which the owner, through reasonable inspection would have taken note of it, then notice will be constructively imputed upon the owner.

In the instance and the case below, on top of all that we have the issue of natural versus unnatural accumulation. There are many things written about that distinction but generally, one should know that the law does not impute liability for an act of God–that is natural snow fall and natural ice formation is not the basis of negligence upon which a premises owner may be found to be liable.

Here, however, the woman alleges broken sewer lines causing the ice upon which she fell and injured herself. If she can prove that the sewer line was in fact broken, that the water from that sewer line caused the ice, and that the owner knew about that defect or should have known about it, then she may be able to collect damages for her injuries. If she fails to prove any of those issues, she loses.

Premises liability cases are not easy cases to prove.

An Alton woman has filed suit against the owners of a building where she claims she injured her left ankle after falling on a patch of ice caused from a broken sewer line.

Lori A. Wallace claims she was visiting friends at 2718 Gerson Ave. in Godfrey on Feb. 7 when she fell on an unnatural accumulation of ice.

Because of her fall, Wallace was made sick, sore, lame and disordered and experienced pain and suffering, according to the complaint filed Feb. 7 in Madison County Circuit Court. In addition, she incurred medical costs, lost her earnings and her earning capacity, lost wages and suffered disability and disfigurement, the suit states.

Wallace names the owners of the property — David McGaughey and Glori McGaughey — as defendants, saying they negligently allowed an unnatural accumulation of ice to form on their driveway, failed to remove the ice and failed to warn others of the unnatural accumulation…

via Godfrey business owner sued over ice accumulation | Madison/St. Clair Record.

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If you or a loved one has been a victim of personal injury in Chicago or the surrounding area, contact or call us at 312-252-5252 for a free no obligation consultation to discuss your legal options.

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Personal Injury – County Judge Rules for Golfer in Lawsuit

March 2, 2011

No control means no liability? If the impression about why the Judge in this case has ruled he way he has is correct, then the result here is patently absurd.

So, by the same token, a person who shoots his gun in the air and kills someones when the bullet comes back to earth and hits someone in the head should not be found liable for a wrongfully killing a person because once the bullet left the gun he no longer had control over it? That sort of a result would be absurd!

While it may be true that negligence may be mitigated or a victim may be considered to have contributed to his injuries to some degree or another, the person who goes on a golf course and hits a ball, under normal circumstances, should be held responsible for the damages the golf ball causes-no matter if the golfer had “control” over the ball after the ball was hit.

I trust this case will be appealed and I would be curious to know what the appellate court will say about the reasoning on this case.

Naperville businessman Ray Kinney wasn’t in court Friday when a judge absolved him of liability for hitting a golf ball that struck a woman in the head.That’s because he was on a golf outing in Florida.

Still, Kinney expressed relief and satisfaction with the decision of Judge John T. Elsner in DuPage County Circuit Court. Elsner ruled homeowner Lillian Demo was entitled to no financial damages from Kinney in the Aug. 25, 2005, incident at St. Andrews Golf Country Club in West Chicago.

“My understanding is the judge felt, in the state of Illinois, the golfer is not liable because he has no control over the golf ball” once it has been launched, Kinney said Friday evening during a telephone interview. “Wayward shots happen, and people who live on golf courses have to assume risk. ”Kinney lives with his family in the Hobson West neighborhood in central Naperville.

via County judge rules for golfer in lawsuit – Naperville Sun.

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Property Damage – Missing in Action is the Department of Insurance?

March 1, 2011

I have previously blogged about the Department of Insurance as being largely a paper tiger. Time after time I see evidence suggesting that the “paper-tiger” badge fits rather well as description for the Department of Insurance.

I have not seen anything else coming out State Farm’s practices as described in the article below, but I would be curious to know what measures, if any, the Department of Insurance decided to take and how the disputes were resolved.

State Farm’s Pattern of Deceit — Scruggs Katrina Group Blog

These e-mails reveal that State Farm, through Lecky King (the person that was in charge of all State Farm adjustments on the Mississippi Gulf Coast), pressured and coerced engineering firms to conclude that all damage was caused by water (supposedly not covered) rather than wind (which is indisputably covered). The e-mails show that State Farm expected its engineers to conclude that all the damage was caused by water and even sent a “suggested” draft report around to all its engineering firms instructing them on how to write the report in such a way to show that all the damage was caused by water.

It is no wonder all the engineering reports that State Farm has used to deny coverage look exactly the same, and every report I have seen looks exactly like the draft that State Farm instructed Forensic to use. Any report that did not come back looking exactly like the State Farm draft report was bounced. The e-mails also show that State Farm instructed all of its engineering firms to IGNORE eyewitness testimony of wind damage and just conclude that the damage was caused by water: “Don’t believe your lying eyes.

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