Articles Posted in Evidence

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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Marina Kolchinsky and her mother, Lidia Kolchinsky, were severely injured in a car collision with a tractor-trailer in Illinois. They sued the truck driver and the two companies that contracted with him. The Kolchinskys filed in federal court based on diversity of citizenship. Illinois law controlled.

The district court entered partial summary judgment in favor of Western Dairy Transport LLC and WD Logistics LLC, concluding that the driver was an independent contractor. This was done so that the Kolchinskys could not hold the companies responsible for the driver’s alleged negligence.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago affirmed the summary judgment for these two companies, ruling that the district court properly classified the driver as an independent contractor.

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This was a negligence lawsuit in which the defendant died two years after his discovery deposition. In this case, the Illinois Appellate Court was unanimous on the dispute about the Illinois Dead-Man’s Act, 735 ILCS 5/8-201. However, justices of the 5th District, Judy L. Cates and David K. Overstreet, disagreed on whether the trial judge misconstrued Illinois Supreme Court Rule 212(a)(5), which was amended in 2011 to permit use of discovery depositions as substantive evidence at trial.

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 212(a)(5) says that a discovery deposition may be used “upon reasonable notice to all parties, as evidence at trial or hearing against the party who appeared at the deposition or was given proper notice thereof, if the court finds that the deponent is not a controlled expert witness, the deponent’s evidence deposition has not been taken and the deponent is unable to attend or testify because of death or infirmity, and if the court, based on its sound discretion, further finds such evidence at trial or hearing will do substantial justice between or among the parties.”

Kevin Eyster sued Kenneth Conrad for allegedly causing an auto crash. The administrator of Conrad’s estate requested summary judgment, arguing the Dead-Man’s Act blocked Eyster from testifying about the incident.

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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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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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Plaintiff Frank Russo filed a lawsuit against the defendant, Corey Steel Co., to recover damages for injuries he suffered when a crane struck a lift in which Russo was working at the defendant’s plant. Corey Steel admitted liability, and the matter proceeded to a trial before a jury to deliberate solely on the issue of damages.

Following the trial, the jury signed a verdict in favor of Russo for a total amount of $9.9 million in damages. Corey Steel retained additional counsel, and as a result, the trial judge who presided over the trial recused himself of the post-trial proceedings.

Corey Steel filed a post-trial motion for a new trial on several grounds. The post-trial judge granted defendant’s motion for a new trial based solely on defendant’s argument that the trial judge erroneously allowed one of plaintiff’s experts to offer an opinion on plaintiff’s need for one future surgery. The trial judge had allowed the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony to stand. The post-trial judge denied defendant’s post-trial motion on the other grounds raised in the motion.

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In a confidential report of this case, Mr. Doe, 47, was riding his bicycle to work in a designated bicycle lane when he was struck by a truck driven by the defendant, Roe Waste Hauling Co. The driver of Roe Waste Hauling was attempting to make a right turn into a driveway directly in front of Mr. Doe. Mr. Doe’s bicycle struck the side of the truck causing him to fall under its rear wheels. Mr. Doe died from these injuries. He had been a professor, earning approximately $85,000 per year, and was survived by his wife to whom he was recently married.

Mr. Doe’s wife sued the waste hauling company alleging that it was liable for its driver’s choosing not to avoid the collision while turning into the bike lane.

The defendant argued that Mr. Doe had been riding too fast and failed to pay attention to traffic conditions, including the garbage truck and its flashing lights.

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This was a case of a rear-end car crash in which the plaintiff, William Kevin Peach, brought a lawsuit against Lyndsey E. McGovern  stemming  from personal injuries he sustained in an automobile incident. The jury returned a verdict in favor of defendant, and the judgment on the verdict was entered.

The plaintiff appealed, contending that the jury verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence, especially when the defendant was adjudged negligent as a matter of law. The plaintiff further asserted that the trial court erred in allowing the defense counsel, over objection, to present evidence pertaining to the relative amount of damage sustained by the vehicles. The plaintiff also argued that there was a direct correlation between the amount of damage to the vehicles, as depicted in photographs and plaintiff’s injuries.

In this case, the plaintiff was on his way home around 10 p.m. after visiting his girlfriend on the evening of July 17, 2010. As he was driving home, he had to stop at an intersection to allow traffic to clear. While waiting at the stop sign, the rear of plaintiff’s pickup truck was hit by another vehicle driven by the defendant who was also on her way home. The defendant claims she was fully stopped behind plaintiff, when her foot slipped off the brake. She further testified that the vehicle simply rolled into the rear of the plaintiff’s truck. The plaintiff, on the other hand, estimated the defendant’s speed to have been 20-25 mph at the time of impact.  He also noticed that the defendant was on her cell phone.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has reversed a decision by a district court judge of the Southern District of Illinois. Reginald Pittman was a pretrial detainee in the Madison County Jail when he hanged himself from the bars of his cell with a blanket. He did not die, but he sustained brain damage that left him in a vegetative state, cared for entirely by his mother without any government benefits.

Pittman had left a suicide note in which he stated that he was killing himself because the guards were not letting him see crisis counselors. His mother brought this lawsuit against Madison County, as well as jail staffers, charging deliberate indifference by guards and other jail staff to the risk of his attempting suicide, in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

In 2011, the federal district court judge granted summary judgment in favor of all the defendants, but the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed as to Randy Eaton and Matt Warner, two of the jail’s guards, on the ground that there was a genuine issue of fact as to whether they had been deliberately indifferent to the risk that Pittman would attempt suicide.

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The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago has affirmed a lower court decision by a federal judge dismissing Gregory Cripe’s lawsuit for exposure to chemical toxic fumes from Pur-Fect Lok 834A. This product is a glue made by the defendant, Henkel Corp. Cripe was exposed to the toxic fumes when he was working on his employer’s roof.

The glue in question contained methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, which can cause serious injury.

Cripe and his wife, Tammy, sued Henkel Corp. under the diversity of citizenship jurisdiction in federal court, contending that exposure to the chemical byproduct of the glue caused both neurological and psychological problems, which could have been prevented if the adhesive had better warnings.

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