On Oct. 17, 2011, Margaret Baumrucker was walking to work when she was hit by a taxicab in a crosswalk at the intersection of Oak Park Avenue and Windsor in Berwyn, Ill. Baumrucker, 60, was a psychiatric nurse and sustained a rotator cuff tendinopathy and glenoid labral tear/shredding in her left shoulder, which was unoperated. She will require periodic physical therapy treatment for the rest of her life. At trial, Baumrucker presented $25,641 in medical expenses and 13 weeks of lost time from work totaling $22,100. She is now retired.
Baumrucker asserted that the defendant cab company, Express Cab Dispatch, was willful and wanton in its failure to properly vet and clear the defendant taxi driver Luis Leal before hiring him as a one of its drivers, including its failure to check his prior driving record and investigate his employment background. The cab company also chose not to provide any training for him after he was hired.
Leal started working for Express Cab just a couple of weeks before this occurrence, and he reportedly had a bad driving record. The defendants admitted negligence, but denied willful and wanton misconduct and denied that the plaintiff was permanently injured.