Articles Posted in Security Cases

On Aug. 2, 2005, Brandy Pirrello was a resident at Maryville Academy, a facility that houses and treats minors with behavioral problems. At the time, Brandy was 16 years old. She had been admitted to the facility in early 2005 and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was at risk of suicide or self-harm. On Aug. 2, 2005, Brandy leaped from her second-story window, landed on a cement patio and seriously injured herself.

On July 17, 2007, Brandy turned 18 years old. The day before, she filed a lawsuit against Maryville. Brandy claimed that Maryville had been negligent in choosing not to take precautions against the risk that she would try to hurt herself. Brandy was seeking compensation for the expenses that she incurred due to her hospitalization and related medical expenses.

However, the injury and the bulk of the expenses incurred between the ages of 16 and 18 and as such, fell under Illinois Family Expense Act. By the terms of the act, the responsibility for paying for Brandy’s medical care was her parents’ responsibility rather than Brandy herself. Therefore, her parents had the right to sue. Brandy’s parents did not join her as a plaintiff in the lawsuit. Brandy’s parents divorced when she was 8, and Brandy was on her father’s health insurance at the time of her injuries. Brandy’s father indicated at a deposition that he did not intend to be involved in her lawsuit.

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Fong Yang was 16 years old with diagnoses of severe autism and Down syndrome.  Fong had a history of running away from his Fresno school when left unsupervised. 

Because of Fong’s tendency to run off, his teacher told the First Student bus dispatcher that the bus driver should not drop off Fong early at school or allow him to get off the bus after school en route to his home unless he was accompanied by an aide. 

Despite these instructions, Fong’s bus driver let him get off the bus without an aide. Fong ran half a block to an intersection, where he was hit by a car and thrown about 30 feet. Fong suffered a skull fracture, an epidural hematoma and multiple abrasions.  His medical bills totaled $78,500.

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Leonardo Davila, 65, was working for a security company that was hired by Premium Assets Inc. Premium was hired to provide security to an office building. While Davila was working near the building loading dock one evening, an unknown assailant attacked him.

Davila suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the assault and is now blind. He was earning $30,000 annually.  His medical expenses were approximately $450,000. Davila brought a lawsuit against Premium Assets, claiming that it chose not to secure the loading dock with a fence despite knowledge of vagrancy and drug activity in that area. The jury was persuaded that the management/ownership of the building, Premium, had knowledge that working near this building was a risk because of the prior criminal activities in the area.

The jury’s verdict of $25 million included $3.25 million in punitive damages.  Davila was represented by Robert C. Hilliard and Thomas J. Henry.

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