Articles Posted in Appellate Procedure

Katherine Black sued two defendants for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Ultimately, the trial did not go as she had expected; the jury rejected her claims.

On appeal, she argued that her trial was riddled with errors. She requested that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit overturn the jury’s verdict for several reasons. However, the court of appeals found there were no errors that warranted a reversal; therefore her request for a new trial was denied.

In 2012, the plaintiff, Katherine Black, and her husband Bernard were professors at Northwestern University School of Law.  In 2012, Bernard’s mother passed away and left behind roughly a $3 million estate. The Blacks expected to inherit 1/3 of that estate. As it turned out, Bernard’s mother cut them out of their will and left virtually the entire estate to Bernard’s homeless and mentally ill sister, Joanne, who lived in Denver. In late 2012, Bernard had himself appointed Joanne’s conservator and then worked to redirect much of her inheritance to himself and his wife.

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The Illinois Appellate Court has affirmed the general verdict in a second jury trial. The first jury trial resulted in a hung jury.

The plaintiff’s decedent had been admitted at a young age to multiple nursing homes and hospitals with an incurable, fatal neurodegenerative disease. The estate for the plaintiff filed a negligence lawsuit against one of the decedent’s treating physicians, maintaining actual claims under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act and the Survival Act.

The plaintiff’s estate alleged that the decedent was abused and neglected at her last nursing home, which defendant chose not to report.

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Susan Danzig and Carla Davis, plaintiffs, attended a student play put on by the Professional Theater and Dance Youth Academy (dance academy) at the Woodlawn facility at The University of Chicago Charter School Corp. (charter school) on Feb. 24, 2017. While there, the plaintiffs were instructed to sit on a bench by an employee of the charter school. The bench collapsed, injuring both Danzig and Davis.

The plaintiffs filed an identical one-count negligence lawsuit against the dance academy and the charter school on March 20, 2018. The charter school moved to dismiss the complaint, claiming the case was barred by the statute of limitations, citing the Illinois Tort Immunity Act, section 101(a), which requires claims to be filed within one year of the alleged injury.

On June 28, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a response and the dance academy moved to dismiss and filed a counterclaim against the charter school for contribution. The charter school moved to dismiss, also citing the one-year statute of limitations.

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Robert Greenhill, the plaintiff, was a sprinkler fitter for a construction project when he was injured at work by a freight elevator.

While he was entering the elevator, another passenger pressed the “door close” button and the elevator gate descended, striking Greenhill.

The Illinois First District Appellate Court held that the open-and-obvious doctrine was not available to the defendants, including REIT Management & Research LLC, Thyssenkrupp Elevator Corp., and the building manager, CW 600 W. Chicago LLC, because the risk of entering the elevator would not have been apparent to a reasonable person in the view of Greenhill.

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The Illinois Appellate Court for the Fourth District has overturned a $3.2 million jury verdict against a manufacturer in an asbestos death case. The appeals panel found that there was not enough evidence to show that a glazier’s contact with caulk and tape was a substantial factor in Willard Krumwiede’s fatal contraction of mesothelioma.

Krumwiede worked as a window glazier, installing glass into wood or aluminum frames from the mid-1950s until he retired in the early 1990s.

Krumwiede died at the age of 81 in September 2012. An autopsy showed that he had “malignant mesothelioma consistent with industrial exposure of asbestos.”

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David Lee Johnson, an employee of Universal AM-CAN Ltd. and Louis Broadwell LLC, was driving a truck owned by his employers above the speed limit while on a suspended license.  Johnson crashed his vehicle into a Jeep in front of him driven by the plaintiff, James Denton.

The crash pushed Denton’s car into a semitrailer tractor truck. Denton eventually managed to crawl out of the rear passenger window, but he suffered multiple traumatic injuries, including severe nerve and spinal damage. He required nine surgeries that were not altogether successful. His injuries have left him with a neurogenic bladder and he is unable to work. Denton also was required to see a counselor for depression and anxiety.

The driver of the truck, Johnson, had nine traffic-related offenses in the seven years before applying to work at Universal as well as four counts of felony reckless aggravated assault when he tried, with a wooden club, to break the headlights of the car occupied by four women who he claimed were tailgating him.

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On April 10, 2014, two Chicago police officers noticed a car without a front license plate, and they attempted to pull it over. The vehicle, which was being driven by Glenn Jones, was owned by Dalia Smith who was a passenger in the car.

As the Chicago police officers attempted to curb the vehicle, Jones suddenly accelerated, driving up to 70 mph down a two-lane street with a 30-mph speed limit. The car he was driving ran through stop signs and a red light.

The police officers followed for four blocks at speeds up to 55 mph before disengaging. However, as the police officers were stopping, the Jones vehicle struck another car containing Kelly Winston and her daughters, Kayla and Kyla. Video of the crash showed that the entire incident, from the police attempting to curb the Jones vehicle to the time of the collision, lasted only about 20 seconds. Jones and Smith were both killed in the crash.

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The Illinois Appellate Court for the First District has affirmed the jury’s verdict in a personal injury case. On Feb. 16, 2013, Joanna Tielke was bowling at a facility run by Kevin Killerman and 3124 N. Central LLC. Tielke slipped while bowling and fell, suffering a severe injury.  She filed a lawsuit against North Central, Killerman and Manor Bowling.

There were two different law firms that represented the various defendants.  On Sept. 26, 2017, attorney Tara Ryniec-Stanek made an open court settlement offer to Tielke of $700,000. This was before trial.

That night, Ryniec-Stanek sent a text to Tielke confirming that the $700,000 offer was still available and that if accepted, the check would be delivered on Sept. 29.  On Sept. 27, Tielke spoke to Ryniec-Stanek and accepted the offer; she also confirmed the acceptance via text message to her.

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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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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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