Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Tyrone Lawson, 17, was the son of the plaintiff, Pamela Wright-Young, when he  was fatally shot outside a high school basketball game.  As the administrator of her son’s estate, his mother brought this wrongful death and survival action lawsuit against the Board of Education of the City of Chicago (Board) and the Chief of Police and Student Services for Chicago State University. The university’s Jones Convocation Center was the venue in which the basketball game was held.

Throughout the pendency of this case, the trial court rejected various statutory immunities asserted by the Board. The case was tried and a jury concluded that the Board was liable, but the Chief of Police of Chicago State University was not. The jury signed a general verdict in favor of Wright-Young for damages in the amount of $3.5 million. The Board appealed.

The Illinois Appellate Court concluded that the trial court erroneously rejected the Board’s claim of absolute immunity with respect to most of the theories of liability presented at trial, as those theories all related to the Board’s choosing not to provide adequate police protection services.

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Deborah Amling, personally and as personal representative for the Estate of Robert N. Amling, brought this lawsuit for the wrongful death of her husband against Harrow Industries LLC and others.

Amling and her husband, Robert, sued Harrow Industries and other businesses in Illinois state court for causing Robert to develop mesothelioma by exposing him to asbestos. Two years later, the Amlings sued Harrow again, this time in federal court, seeking a declaratory judgment on the meaning of an asset-purchase agreement between Harrow and another company, Nexus, also a defendant in the Amlings’ Illinois state lawsuit.

The federal district court judge thought the declaratory judgment action unripe and dismissed it. Even if it were ripe, the judge ruled in the alternative, she would decline to exercise jurisdiction over it. The Amlings appealed. Unfortunately, Robert died while this appeal was pending. Deborah now brings these state and federal lawsuits in her own right and as a representative of Robert’s estate.

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On Sept. 13, 2011, James Langholf, employed by Howe Freightways Inc., was driving a semi-tractor and trailer truck through Iowa when he heard a pop and felt the engine shake. He then noticed black smoke coming from the engine. He had the engine powered on but pulled off to the side of the road and called Howe’s director of safety and maintenance and the shop foreman for help.

Langholf could not restart the engine and was told to call Cummins, the manufacturing company for his truck’s engine, which had a repair shop nearby.

On advice from someone at Cummins, Langholf called Hanifen Co. in Des Moines to get a tow. Hanifen was 53 miles away and farther than two other tow companies. Two trucks were dispatched, as two were needed to tow the semi-tractor and trailer.

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Elwood Breaux Jr. was working for Plaquemines Parish when the “zipper failure” occurred, the name for a long sidewall rip with protruding metal reinforcement. With air escaping from the tire, Breaux was thrown backward and severely injured. He died 28 days after this occurrence on Feb. 5, 2014 of massive internal injuries to his chest and abdomen caused by the exploded tire. This case was tried before a judge in the Louisiana state district court.

The judge calculated damages to Breaux, his five children and his wife, at $6.7 million, saying about $481,000 of that will reimburse the parish for the workers’ compensation lien.

Louisiana state law will return some of that to the family’s share and judicial interest or add at least $1.4 million to the total. Attorney Danny Meeks represented the Breaux family in this tragic case.

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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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A 24-year-old pastry chef, Emily Fredericks, rode her bicycle from her apartment to her job at a restaurant in Philadelphia in November 2017.  As she approached an intersection, a garbage truck driven alongside her by Jorge Fretts, an employee of the waste disposal company Gold Medal Environmental, prepared to make a right turn across her path.

About 40 feet from the intersection, Fretts had passed a road sign telling drivers to “Yield to Bikes.”

Fretts chose not to yield or even check his surroundings and made the turn without using his turn signal. The truck struck Emily’s bike, knocked her to the ground and ran over her, crushing her chest. She died from her injuries.

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Janet Pulver, 66, was several yards away from an intersection when a vehicle driven by Bennett Dunbar crashed into Pulver’s car head-on.  Pulver suffered serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury, and died only 28 hours later. She had been retired but was taking care of her grandchildren everyday. She was survived by her two adult children and grandchildren.

Pulver’s family and estate sued Dunbar alleging that he was driving recklessly and traveling at almost 80 mph in a 40-mph zone at the time of the crash.

Dunbar lost control of his vehicle, which crossed the center line of the highway and hit Pulver’s car head-on. The report of this case inexplicably stated that defendant disputed the plaintiff’s damages claim.

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After a party, Vivence Bugilimfura drove seven of his friends home in his employer’s van. He had been drinking. He crashed the van into a concrete highway divider. All but one of the passengers who were in their early 20s were ejected from the van. Two of the passengers suffered fatal injuries, and the others’ injuries ranged from a bruised lung to multiple fractures. The medical expenses of those who survived ranged from approximately $26,300 to $496,100.

The lawsuit on behalf of the injured and deceased passengers alleged that Bugilimfura and his employer, All Citizens Transportation, were liable for the crash. The plaintiffs argued that All Citizens negligently entrusted the van to Bugilimfura, who had only recently received his driver’s license. The plaintiffs also maintained that Bugilimfura was driving while intoxicated. The lawsuit did not claim lost income.

The jury signed a verdict for the plaintiffs who were either injured or killed in the amount of approximately $15.4 million finding the defendants joint and severally liable. Essentially, the verdict means that All Citizens Transportation could pay the entire amount of the jury’s verdict.

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Yadvinder Singh, a 30-year-old truck driver, was hired by Destination Anywhere Inc. to haul aggregate materials from Granite Construction Company‘s facility to a construction site. He drove his dump truck to Granite Construction, where an employee loaded it with washed sand.  As Singh drove the truck toward his destination, its right front tire blew out. That caused his truck to leave the road and overturn. Singh was severely injured, taken to a nearby hospital and died that evening. He was survived by his wife and two minor children. He had been earning approximately $50,000 per year.

Singh’s family sued Destination Anywhere claiming it chose not to perform a mandatory safety check on the dump truck two days before the incident. It was alleged that had this inspection been done, it would have been discovered that the front tire’s tread depth was significantly below the limit. The lawsuit also alleged that Granite Construction’s employee was negligent in overloading the truck.

The defendant argued that Singh had routinely instructed aggregate suppliers to load his truck fully. The defendant also argued that maintaining the truck, which Singh had leased from Destination Anywhere, was his responsibility and duty.

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Bronson Ganka was a maintenance worker for Apartments Downtown Inc.,  a private company that builds apartments in Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa City is a college town where the University of Iowa is located. Ganka was 40 at the time.

While he was drilling holes into a building he was working on, he fell off a ladder and hit the ground 12 feet below.

Ganka suffered head injuries and died several days later. He was survived by his wife, a minor child and two adult children.

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