An Illinois Appellate Court for the First District reversed and remanded a decision from a Cook County trial judge after it entered a judgment order following a jury verdict. Scott Gilman drove over one of Sweta Karn’s feet as he was making a left turn at a Chicago intersection on Oct. 10, 2013. She filed a lawsuit a month later against him and his employer, Aspen Painting Inc. ,for negligence. At the jury trial, the defendants raised the defenses of contributory negligence and failure to mitigate damages.

Multiple expert witnesses testified that Karn suffered “severe and permanent” nerve injury to her left foot. One of the experts, Dr. Oleg Petrov, a witness for the defendants, was questioned about a surveillance video submitted by the defendants that “allegedly showed plaintiff, after the date of the injury, walking and standing for long periods of time without any signs of discomfort or pain.”

Although the person walking in the video was never identified, Dr. Petrov used the video as the basis for his opinion that Karn’s injuries were not severe or permanent. Dr. Dean Stern, who was Karn’s podiatrist and surgeon, testified at the trial that she was not the person in the surveillance video that Dr. Petrov used.

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In October 2017, Cook County’s chief judge, state’s attorney, sheriff, board president, public defender and the chair of the county board’s Criminal Justice Committee all petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court to issue a rule that would eliminate pre-trial incarceration due solely to the inability to pay a money bond.

The proposed rule has been supported by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Y. Raoul, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, dozens of other prominent members of the Illinois bar and other leaders of the legal community, including former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and more than 70 community organizations.

The rule would anchor the reforms implemented in Cook County, General Order 18.8A, which was issued by Chief Cook County Circuit Court Judge Timothy C. Evans in September 2017.

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On Aug. 31, 2015, 34-year-old Carrie Scheetz, a teacher, was driving home from work on a county road in Rock Creek Township, Ill., when a school bus approached a four-way intersection at a stop sign. There was no stop sign for traffic traveling in Scheetz’s direction.

Scheetz could see the school bus, which was driven by the defendant, Steven D. Holsted, approaching the intersection, about three-quarters of a mile away. Scheetz and the school bus did not slow down or stop at the intersection.

As Scheetz approached the intersection traveling at approximately 82 mph in a 55-mph zone, the bus was about to cross the intersection when the two vehicles crashed.

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Within a year of when Michael Booth signed an employment agreement that had a non- competition clause, he resigned as president of Axion RMS and then went to work for a competitor. It was also alleged that, after leaving Axion RMS, he started luring away former colleagues. Axion sued Booth for the alleged violation of the non-compete contract.

A circuit court judge dismissed the case because (1) the alleged consideration for the restrictive covenant was Booth’s continued employment, and (2) several Illinois Appellate Court cases require, as a bright-line rule, two years of subsequent employment to qualify as adequate consideration for such provisions.

The circuit court judge also denied Axion’s request for leave to file an amended complaint that cured this problem (by alleging that the consideration for the non competition agreement included a boost in Booth’s salary, from $300,000 to $500,000 a year; his receipt of shares in the business; plus a promotion to president from vice president of sales).

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On July 28, 2016, the defendant, Demetris D. Owens, delivered a semi-trailer truck to a warehouse loading dock at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

The plaintiff, Michael Heatherly II, a forklift operator, attempted to unload the materials inside the truck by driving his forklift onto the truck from the dock. As he moved the forklift over the threshold from the dock to the trailer, the truck rolled forward. With Heatherly inside, the forklift fell off the dock approximately 4 feet to the ground.

He suffered permanent spine injuries, which required physical therapy and steroid injections.  He did not undergo surgery. However, he is no longer able to work as a forklift driver and is unable to pursue a career as a union glazier as he intended before this tragic incident.

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Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed into law the Collective Bargaining Freedom Act, which became effective April 12, 2019. Under the new law, local governments will no longer be able to pass right-to-work ordinances.

The legislation is a signal of Gov. Pritzker’s approach to workforce regulation. A similar bill was passed in the previous General Assembly session, but the law was vetoed by then-Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The Act explains, “It is the policy of the State of Illinois that employers, employees, and their labor organizations are free to negotiate collectively.”

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The Illinois Supreme Court has held that sentencing a juvenile to a prison sentence of greater than 40 years violates his or her Eighth Amendment rights because it imposes a de facto life sentence.

The defendant in this case was a juvenile at the time of the offense. The juvenile was convicted of four counts of first-degree murder and discharging a firearm, which caused the victim’s death. The trial court merged the first-degree murder counts and sentenced the juvenile defendant to 25 years on the first-degree murder charges and 25 years for the mandatory firearm add-on.

The juvenile filed a pro se petition for post conviction relief, alleging that the sentence was unconstitutional and violated the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Miller v. Alabama, which stated that imposing a mandatory life sentence on a juvenile without consideration of the defendant’s youth and attendant characteristics violated the Eighth Amendment because it constituted a de facto life sentence that amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

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Sherri Miyagi, a dentist, was visiting a Walgreens pharmacy when she was injured by a hand truck operated by an employee of the defendant, Dean Transportation Inc. Dr. Miyagi filed a complaint, alleging negligence and respondeat superior against the defendant, Dean. Before the start of the jury trial, Dean admitted its negligence and a trial was held on the issues of causation and damages to the four elements of negligence.

Following the trial, the jury signed a verdict in favor of Dr. Miyagi for $2.4 million in noneconomic damages, $300,000 for past medical expenses, and $7.3 million for future medical expenses.

The defendant, Dean, filed a post-trial motion, seeking judgment notwithstanding the verdict, a new trial on all issues, a new trial on damages only, or in the alternative, a remittitur of all but $5,703.68 of the future medical expenses awarded by the jury. The trial court denied defendant’s request for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict and for a new trial. The trial court did, however, grant defendant’s request for a remittitur, but in the amount of $3.65 million, which represented 50% of the jury award for future medical expenses.

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The appeal in this case comes out of a jury’s verdict in favor of the plaintiff, Lanisha Blockmon, who was special administrator of the Estate of Walter Blockmon III. On July 11, 2014, Blockmon was driving on I-80 near the city of Country Club Hills, Ill., when his vehicle was hit from behind by the vehicle driven by the defendant, Jakobi McClellan. Blockmon died from his injuries. After his death, Lanisha Blockmon filed a 5-count fourth amended complaint in the Circuit Court of Cook County naming McClellan, Vector Marketing Corp. and Cutco Corp. as defendants.

Vector Marketing sells and distributes cutlery and other kitchen equipment manufactured by Cutco. The lawsuit alleged that in July 2014, McClellan, the defendant, was a sales representative for an agent of Vector and Cutco, and that at the time of the incident, McClellan was traveling between sales calls in his role as a Vector sales representative.

McClellan admitted that at the time of the incident he was using the mapping and GPS functions on his cell phone to check the location of his next sales call and to determine how late he was running, and that he was not looking at the road.

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Hussein Agiz was driving his motorcycle through a commercial warehousing complex owned by Heller Industrial Parks when a vehicle driven by Jonathan Bonilla struck Agiz. He was 18 years old.

Bonilla was drag racing at the time of the crash. Agiz sustained severe injuries, which included a brain contusion and amputation of his right arm and leg. He required eleven surgeries.

Agiz sued Bonilla and Heller Industrial Parks. Agiz claimed that drag racing occurred regularly within the complex as evidenced by multiple police reports over several years before the crash.

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