In a divided First District Appellate Court decision, it was found that a private ambulance company cannot get the benefit of immunity given to emergency vehicles for a collision its medic allegedly caused. The appeals panel found that because the defendant, Joshua M. Nicholas, wasn’t transporting a patient in his Lifeline ambulance at the time he collided with the plaintiff, Roberto Hernandez, Nicholas and Lifeline were not immune from liability under state law.

The State Emergency Medical Services Systems Act immunizes ambulatory agencies and their employees if they’re providing emergency or non-emergency medical services. The Illinois Supreme Court in Wilkins v. Williams, 2013 IL 114310 held that “non-emergency medical services” included the non-emergency transport of a patient.

Nicholas was on his way to pick up a patient in Villa Park when he collided with Hernandez’s car on March 11, 2016 while exiting the upper lanes of Lake Shore Drive in Streeterville. As a result, state law did not “provide Nicholas or Lifeline with immunity from liability for any negligent acts or omissions which proximately resulted in damages to the plaintiff.”

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Anne Sholes, 53, a neurosurgeon, was riding her bicycle in a bicycle lane to work when a Solano County employee operating a box truck, struck her from behind. Dr. Sholes suffered a broken back and a fractured left leg and ankle.

She underwent multiple surgeries to repair her back and leg, including replacement of hardware. She then required extensive physical therapy, hyperbaric chamber treatments, and acupuncture. Dr. Sholes’ medical expenses totaled $270,000.

Dr. Sholes was earning $400,000 annually as a neurosurgeon. She returned to work as a physician advisor two years after the incident, but her salary was reduced to $75,000 per year.

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A Cook County judge had dismissed the aggravated negligence claims based on a 2005 Illinois Appellate Court decision. In that case, there was a ruling that “prior knowledge of similar acts is required” to hold a public entity liable for willful and wanton supervision.

The lawsuit arose out of the claim of willful and wanton supervision that Becky Andrews pursued as Jeffrey Andrews’s plenary guardian against the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (Water Reclamation District). The lawsuit did not allege that anyone had previously been injured by the hazardous condition, a very dangerous cross-over between two ladders that allegedly caused head injuries to Andrews from a 29-foot fall to the bottom of the concrete chamber.

Andrews was working as a cement finisher for a joint venture, which the Water Reclamation District hired for a construction project at a water treatment plant.

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The Illinois Appellate Court for the First District has ordered a new trial in the product-liability lawsuit against a water heater company. The jury’s verdict of $10.7 million for a toddler killed by scalding bathwater was the underlying lawsuit leading to this verdict.

The Illinois Appellate Court’s decision centered on the heater’s instruction manual as well as a warning label on both a mock-up and the actual heater. It was the opinion of the appeals panel that the jury should have been allowed to see the heater’s instruction manual in the trial.

The appeals panel also said the jury should have been given the chance to answer a special interrogatory, which was the question aimed to distill and frame the issues. The question was whether the product was “unreasonably dangerous” when it left the location of the manufacturer.

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This lawsuit was originally filed in Kane County, Ill., in the wrongful death and survival act claims by Lee Anne Wigdahl for the death of her husband, Eric Wigdahl. The case was challenged by the defendant, who claimed that it should have been removed to the federal court because the case posed a federal question.

The complaint that Wigdahl filed made UnitedHealthcare (UHC) as a party defendant for allegedly choosing not to tell her now- deceased husband to immediately go to the emergency room rather than steering him to a less expensive urgent care center when he called the health insurer, UHC from California. He was in serious distress while seeking help in locating an in-network referral under his group health plan.

UHC argued that federal question jurisdiction applied here requiring removal to federal court because: (1) Section 502(a) of ERISA authorizes a beneficiary to sue the administrator of a group plan if its employees withhold or misrepresent the plan’s benefits; and (2) Section 514 says ERISA “shall supersede any and all state laws insofar as they may now or hereafter relate to any employee benefit plan.”

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Daniel and Rachel Brenner purchased four works of art from Evelyn Statsinger in the 1950s and 1960s. The artworks were displayed in the Brenner home continuously through the time of Daniel’s death in 1977 and Rachel’s death in 1990. The Brenner children, Ariel and Jonathan Brenner, inherited the artwork.

When Jonathan died in 2010, he died without a will. His widow, Terry Brenner, was his sole heir.

The paintings were given back to Evelyn Statsinger in 1996. The transfer took place with Jonathan, Terry, their daughter, Statsinger and Statsinger’s husband being present.

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Scott Stevenson, 52, was driving his utility van on a busy interstate highway when his vehicle rear-ended a broken-down truck that had been stopped in the middle lane for fourteen minutes.

Stevenson died from the injuries he sustained in the impact of the vehicles. He had been a self-employed plumber earning about $120,000 per year. Stevenson was survived by his wife and adult daughter.

The Stevenson family sued the truck driver, Richard Delcore, and Simpson Group Inc., which leased the truck and employed Delcore.

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Janet Pulver, 66, was several yards away from an intersection when a vehicle driven by Bennett Dunbar crashed into Pulver’s car head-on.  Pulver suffered serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury, and died only 28 hours later. She had been retired but was taking care of her grandchildren everyday. She was survived by her two adult children and grandchildren.

Pulver’s family and estate sued Dunbar alleging that he was driving recklessly and traveling at almost 80 mph in a 40-mph zone at the time of the crash.

Dunbar lost control of his vehicle, which crossed the center line of the highway and hit Pulver’s car head-on. The report of this case inexplicably stated that defendant disputed the plaintiff’s damages claim.

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John Deatherage, 51, was on an elevator when it suddenly dropped and came to a violent stop.  Deatherage, who had two previous surgeries at L5-S1, suffered a spinal injury that required a fusion surgery at that level. He continues to experience back and spine problems.

He sued Schindler Elevator Corp., alleging that it chose not to maintain and repair the elevator. Deatherage maintained that Schindler had a contract with the casino’s owner, under which it was paid a flat fee for preventative maintenance at the casino but failed to determine why the elevator was malfunctioning so frequently.

Deatherage’s attorneys argued that Schindler’s mechanic never determined the cause of the problem and would not follow up. There was no claim by Deatherage for medical expenses or lost income.

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St. Louis City Circuit Court judge refused to grant Johnson & Johnson’s motions following the July 13, 2018 jury verdict of $4.7 billion against Johnson & Johnson for injuries suffered by 22 women. This verdict was the largest by far against Johnson & Johnson in cases against it brought by women who have claimed that ovarian cancer was caused by use of the baby powder. The St. Louis City Circuit Court Judge Rex Burlison concluded in his opinion that there was “substantial evidence” to support the $550 million in compensatory damages and that punitive damages that totaled more than $4 billion were constitutional.

Judge Burlison added: “First, substantial evidence was adduced at trial of particularly reprehensible conduct on the part of defendants (Johnson & Johnson and others), including that defendants knew of the presence of asbestos in products that they knowingly targeted for sale to mothers and babies, knew of the damage their products caused, and misrepresented the safety of these products for decades.” The judge also said, “Second, defendants’ actions caused significant physical harm and potential physical harm, including causing ovarian cancer in plaintiffs or plaintiffs’ decedents.”

Judge Burlison also noted that the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act was a law that also provided for potential penalties against Johnson & Johnson.

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