Thomas Topal owned real estate in Benld, Ill., when he died on March 15, 2017.  The mortgage on the property was held by First National Bank in Staunton, Ill.

In February 2020, Associated Bank N.A. (Associated) acquired First National Bank and succeeded it as mortgagee.

On Oct. 22, 2020, just over 2 ½ years after Topal passed away, his heir, Catherine Petrak, filed a petition seeking to admit his will to probate. Petrak died on Dec. 5, 2020. Attorney Robert Smith was named executor for her estate in a separate probate case and as independent administrator of Topal’s estate.

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When Joyce Fogle, 57, slowed her car for traffic on a highway, Taylor Merritt’s vehicle rear-ended Fogle’s vehicle. Fogle was taken to a hospital where she underwent a CT scan of her brain and x-rays of her knees. She received conservative treatment for back pain and later underwent surgery at L4-5, followed by physical therapy.

Fogle continued to suffer residual pain, for which she takes over-the-counter medication. Her medical expenses totaled over $145,000.

She sued Merritt, alleging she was following too closely.

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Charles Peterson, 39, was driving on an interstate highway when another vehicle collided with his. The impact of the crash caused Peterson to lose control of his vehicle, which moved onto the highway median.

The driver of a commercial truck then made a sudden turn on the highway, causing its trailer to fishtail and strike Peterson’s vehicle.

Peterson suffered serious injuries necessitating amputation of both legs. His medical expenses were $1.2 million.

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Raquel Manzo, 53, a homemaker, was driving her car and stopped at a stop sign when Daniel Garcia Buenrostro, who was driving a dump truck, suddenly rear-ended her car. Manzo suffered neck and lower back injuries that required a cervical fusion at C6-7 with injections.

Manzo, who was a candidate for future cervical fusions at an adjacent level of her spinal column, incurred medical expenses of $373,000. She sued LGS Transport Inc., Buenrostro, and the owner of the vehicle, alleging negligence.

Manzo did not make a claim for lost income.

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Judge Marcia Maras ruled in May 2022 that the prejudgment interest statute passed by the Illinois legislature was unconstitutional. However, another law division judge gave notice on July 20, 2022, stating that the motions on constitutional issues can and should be decided by the trial judge. In a written order of Aug. 5, 2022, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Maura Slattery Boyle granted prejudgment interest to a plaintiff in a negligence action.

Judge Boyle denied the defendants’ motion to declare the Prejudgment Interest Act unconstitutional, rejecting all of the arguments made including the applicability of Judge Maras’s ruling in Hyland, etc. v. Advocate Health & Hospitals Corp., et al., No. 17 L 3541.

The act allows plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits to collect interest against defendants from the time the lawsuit is filed should the plaintiff prevail to judgment, rather than from the time judgment is entered. The effective date of this act is July 1, 2021. The law provides recovery of 6% prejudgment interest in addition to the 9% post-judgment interest already enshrined in the law.

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Tyler Dahlstrand, 28, was an iron worker employed at Midwest Steel Inc., which FCA US LLC hired as the contractor for a welding project at the Belvedere, Ill., assembly plant.

Dahlstrand was assigned to a night shift and worked above a wire mesh walkway with cut outs covered with unsecured plywood placed under welding blankets.

After climbing down a ladder and onto the mesh walkway, Dahlstrand tripped and fell, landing on a piece of plywood. His body twisted during the fall; he suffered a herniated disk at L4-5. He underwent physical therapy, injections and surgery.

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James DeFranscesco, 53, owned his own trucking company. He parked his tractor-trailer for the night at a truck stop in Georgia but was awakened when an adjacent tractor-trailer got stuck to his rig after turning too sharply while pulling out.

DeFranscesco opened his door and fell to the pavement while the other truck driver attempted to free his vehicle. The other driver broke free and started to drive off. DeFranscesco ran after the truck and jumped on its low bumper bar, holding on with one hand and yelling at the driver to stop.

The driver then tapped his brakes, causing DeFranscesco to fall off the rig. DeFranscesco suffered a lumbar disk protrusion at L3-4, which required a laminectomy. He continued to experience pain that interfered with his ability to work, resulting in 795 missed work days and approximately $363,400 in lost income.

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The Illinois Appellate Court has ruled against a plaintiff who was blinded in one eye when a bar patron threw a bottle at him. The plaintiff was seeking to collect $1 million over the insurance policy limit of $1 million.

In this case, the trial court had ruled that Orlando Valdez did not sufficiently allege that the insurance company had a duty to settle the underlying action, that it acted in bad faith, and that his settlement demand created a conflict of interest between the insurer and its client.

In September 2012, Valdez was injured at Aquarius Club and Restaurant in Chicago. He sued the club owner, the unidentified assailant, and others in the Circuit Court of Cook County.

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Circuit Court Judge Marcia Maras has ruled that the prejudgment interest law that went into effect in 2021 is unconstitutional.

Under this law, plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits are able to collect 6% interest against defendants from the time the lawsuit is filed until it is disposed of.  All cases challenging the constitutionality of the law were consolidated before Judge Maras.

Her long-awaited ruling, an advisory opinion that does not set precedent, arose from a medical negligence case in the preterm birth of twins.

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Robin Chapman, 55, was driving to work when a tow truck owned by Super Dirty Recovery LLC and driven by its employee, Joseph McRaith, pulled out suddenly from a side street and collided with Chapman’s vehicle.

Chapman suffered a broken left elbow, a fractured right ankle, broken ribs and a fractured fibula.  She required three surgeries and continues to suffer from pain and mobility problems.

Chapman sued Super Dirty Recovery, alleging that it had negligently entrusted its vehicle to McRaith, who did not hold a valid driver’s license and allegedly had a criminal history.

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