Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

James Richardson was seriously injured in an auto crash at 53rd Street and Western Avenue in Chicago, which resulted in a settlement for $1 million against Night Dream Inc. and Shaun T. Small. However, their Nevada-based insurer, Spirit Commercial Auto RRG Inc., was placed in liquidation before it funded the $1 million settlement amount. Because Spirit was a “risk retention group, (RRG),” Richardson couldn’t collect from the insurance guaranty funds in Nevada or Illinois.

He asked for a $1 million judgment against Dream and Small based on the portion of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, Section 2-2301, aimed at insurance companies that slow walk settlement payments.

Richardson requested the judgment more than 30 days after he submitted an executed release and all other documents required by Section 2-2301. Subsection (d) says: “A settling defendant shall pay all sums due to the plaintiff within 30 days of tender by the plaintiff of the executed release and all applicable documents in compliance with subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this Section.”

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

The Illinois Appellate Court for the 1st District reversed and remanded a decision entered by a judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The issue on appeal was focused on a non-manufacturing defendant in a product-liability case. The defendant identified the manufacturer in order to be dismissed from strict liability in a tort claim. There was a question as to whether the manufacturer was not subject to the court’s jurisdiction and whether the plaintiff should be permitted to reinstate the non-manufacturing defendant.

In this case, Martin Cassidy was working at a warehouse when a flexible bulk container belonging to China Vitamins ripped and leaked, which made the entire stack of containers unstable. One of the stacked containers fell on Cassidy, injuring him.

In 2007, he filed a lawsuit against China Vitamins. The lawsuit alleged strict liability, negligent product liability and one count under res ipsa loquitur.

Continue reading

Illinois lawyers sometimes struggle with discovery requests to produce incident reports. The defendant in a case where someone was injured may as a matter of business have a rule about preparing incident reports by employees or managers of these facilities.

Suppose a customer at an automotive repair company is injured while waiting to receive the person’s vehicle when the customer falls down a stairwell and is injured. The manager of the auto repair shop by rule prepares an incident report. The customer who was injured hires an attorney who now seeks a copy of that incident report, but the auto repair shop attorney claims that the report is privileged.

Illinois’ Rule of Evidence 801(d)(2)(A) is the operative law on why the auto repair shop must turn over the incident report.  Illinois Rule of Evidence 801(d)(2)(A) is an admission by a party opponent that states: “That the statement is offered against a party and is (A) the party’s own statement, in either an individual or a representative capacity.” IRE 801(d)(2)(A).

Continue reading

Kerry Hogland was 36 years old when driving her sedan on a highway near Fredericktown, Mo. An employee of Town & Country Grocers of Fredericktown drove onto the highway from an on-ramp. The driver of the Town & Country Grocers vehicle did not heed a stop sign at the end of the ramp and crashed broadside into Hogland’s sedan on the passenger side.

Hogland’s vehicle spun out of control and landed in a field next to the highway.

She suffered an intracranial hemorrhage, an epidural hematoma that necessitated a craniotomy and a skull fracture that left her deaf in her right ear. A craniotomy is a surgical procedure where a bone flap is removed from the skull to allow access to the brain. The surgery removes a part of the bone from the skull to expose the brain. The bone flap is temporarily removed and then replaced after the brain surgery is completed.  Obviously, this is a very serious and dangerous surgery.

Continue reading

On July 18, 2010 Geraldine Mular was a guest of the home of Dawn Ingram. Mular fell into a backyard pool and was injured. No lawsuit was filed until July 16, 2012, just one day before the statute of limitations would have expired. The lawsuit named Ingram as the defendant.

In the complaint, Mular alleged that Ingram failed to keep “the area around the premises’ pool maintained and properly constructed.” Notably, Mular did not allege that Ingram either constructed the pool or was involved in its design, but she did claim that Ingram had failed to keep the area clear of tripping hazards, failed to provide safe ingress and egress and had allowed the area to become unsafe due to poor maintenance.

In the lawsuit, Ingram’s home was correctly listed as 1694 Van Buren Ave., Des Plaines, Ill. However, the summons that was issued on July 16, 2012 listed Ingram’s residence as 1649 Van Buren Ave., transposing the last two digits of the address. The court noted that “the clerk’s docket does not reflect that the summons was ever placed with the Sheriff for service.”

Continue reading

The Illinois Appellate Court for the Second District has reversed a Lake County, Ill., dismissal of a personal-injury and wrongful-death claim against Rene Melbourn who was dismissed on motion under the Illinois Code of Civil Procedures, Section 2-615, for failure to state a cause of action. The plaintiffs appealed the dismissal with prejudice of their second amendment complaint against Melbourn. The trial judge had found that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim for wrongful-death based on an “in-concert” theory of liability and the negligent infliction of emotional distress. Melbourn was the only defendant involved in the appeal.

The facts of the case were that on Dec. 13, 2013, the Borcia family, including Antonio Borcia, was out boating and tubing on Lake County’s Chain of Lakes. The defendant, Melbourn, was sued along with David Hatyina, Spring Lake Marina Ltd. and Fox Waterway Agency over the death of Antonio. In this boating accident, which killed Antonio, it was alleged that Melbourn was liable for in-concert liability for the wrongful death as well as negligent infliction of emotional distress for a bystander who witnessed the collision.

The incident involved Hatyina’s 29-foot cigarette boat, named “Purple Haze,” which struck and killed Antonio on Petite Lake, in Lake Villa, Ill. Melbourn was a passenger on the boat; it was alleged she contributed to Hatyina’s consumption of alcohol and cocaine. Hatyina was impaired as he operated the boat at speeds in excess of 40 mph. Hatyina struck Antonio with the boat. Antonio suffered severe injuries that resulted in his death on July 28, 2012.

Continue reading

Scott Rankin, 37, was riding his bicycle on a two-lane rural, nonresidential road when he collided with the back of a United Parcel Service truck parked partially on the road. Rankin suffered serious injuries, the worst of which resulted in incomplete quadriplegia. He had been a band director earning about $60,000 a year, but now is unable to work.

Rankin filed suit against UPS claiming negligence per se for its driver’s violation of the Texas Transportation Code. The statute prohibits trucks such as a UPS vehicle in nonresidential districts from leaving their vehicles on the main part of the highway unless it is impractical to do so.

Rankin alleged that UPS endangered others on the road by choosing not to train its drivers on applicable parking laws in an effort to promote driver efficiency and safety.

Continue reading