Articles Posted in Evidence

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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The on-the-job exposure to asbestos experienced by Ronnie Startley occurred in Alabama. Startley was a drywall finisher. However, for 3 to 4 months in 1965, he worked on approximately 50 jobs in Chicago with his cousin, Walter Startley. The Startleys used several brands of drywall joint compound that contained asbestos. Startley was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2013; he died a year later in Alabama. The Alabama statute of limitations blocked Startley’s estate’s claims there.

According to Walter Startley’s testimony, during an evidence deposition in the Illinois lawsuit that Ronnie’s estate filed against Welco Manufacturing Co., the manufacturer of Well-Coat, the joint compound they used for Chicago projects in 1965 were “USG, Gold Bond, Best Wall, and Wel-Coat.” He added, “Wel-Coat and Best Wall was the most we used.”

When Walter was asked whether he could recall having more jobs with “one product more than the other,” Walter said, “Well, I really can’t, because that’s a long time ago, but I remember the bags was being like gray-looking stuff and I imagine it would be Wel-Coat or Best Wall.”

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Missouri’s HB 153 became law recently, supplanting the expert witness screening standard set out in the Federal Rules of Evidence 702, 703, 704 and 705. Missouri’s new expert witness standard  effectively submits expert testimony in most civil and criminal cases to the analysis set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).

Until the law enactment, R.S.Mo. 490.065 has set forth the requirements for admission of expert testimony in Missouri state courts. In its present form, the language of the statute has varied significantly from the familiar expert witness standard set forth in the Federal Rules of Evidence and the rules of numerous sister states that track the federal rules.

Missouri appellate decisions have noted on occasion that Daubert and its progeny could provide “guidance” when the federal rules and the Missouri rules match up. See, e.g. State Bd. of Registration for the Healing Arts v. McDonagh, 123 S.W.3d 146, 155-156 (Mo. 2003) (Wolff, J, concurring in part and dissenting in part), and Goddard v. State, 144 S.W.3d 848, 852-853 (Mo. App. S.D. 2004).

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On July 28, 2008 Mai Leen Aguilar-Santos was injured in a car crash alleged to have been caused by the defendant, Helen Brine. On April 1, 2010 the lawsuit against Brine was filed by Mai Leen Aguilar-Santos seeking to recover damages for her injuries caused in the accident. Mai Leen claimed she sustained injuries to her neck, back and burns to her arm from the deployment of the airbag.

Before trial, the court granted Mai Leen’s motion for partial summary judgment, finding that Brine breached her duty of ordinary care in causing the car collision. Brine then filed an amended answer admitting that her negligence was the proximate cause of Mai Leen’s injuries, but denied that the injuries she sustained in the accident were permanent. Two treating doctors provided trial testimony.

One doctor, Dr. Lim, an orthopedic surgeon, testified that Mai Leen’s injuries and symptoms identified in the medical records were caused by the accident. He said Mai Leen’s condition may deteriorate with age or treatment. Dr. Lim examined Mai Leen recently and testified that she required future and further medical treatment for her pain and problems related to the automobile collision. The other treating physician, Dr. Malek, testified that Mai Leen suffered a permanent injury. Dr. Malek had not seen Mai Leen for 15 months prior to his evidence deposition that was presented to the jury.

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On Jan. 27, 2011, there was a multi-car crash on Interstate 294 in the Chicago suburbs. Kevin Boyd George drove his car into the rear of another car and that car was in turn pushed into a car driven by the plaintiff, John Larkin.

Larkin’s car was pushed into the car in front of him. He filed a lawsuit on March 1, 2012 claiming that he suffered “numerous injuries” due to the negligent driving by the defendant, Kevin Boyd George.

At the scene of the crash, Larkin did not report any injury, but on the following day he did go to an urgent care center reporting pain in his left ankle. Larkin ultimately had to undergo two orthopedic procedures to correct the pain and reported continuing pain, which prevented him from participating in family and recreational activities that included golf and basketball, which he claimed to have participated in regularly.

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