Illinois Jury Verdict for Sheriff’s Deputy Who Tears Knee Ligament on Loading Dock

On April 10, 2010, Daniel Coile, 33, went to Shepherd’s Closet, a store, to pick up a desk purchased by his mother. Coile was told that he would need to load the desk into his car by way of a loading dock at the rear of the store.  Shepherd’s Closet or Closet Two is located in Gibson City, Ill.

At the loading dock there was an unsecured railroad tie that went along the face of the dock. While Coile was attempting to load the desk, he placed his left foot on the railroad tie to get closer to the dock, but the tie slid as he lifted the desk causing his left knee to twist.

Coile suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament of the left knee and required reconstructive surgery and physical therapy. As a result of his injury, Coile was unable to work for 4 months as a deputy sheriff.

The defendant, Shepherd’s Closet, argued that the railroad tie was not dangerous. Shepherd’s Closet maintained that the tie was placed in that position to serve as a bumper and that Coile was negligent for standing on the railroad tie when that was not its intended purpose.

Coile asserted that this case involved an issue of ordinary negligence as opposed to premises liability. Coile argued that his injuries were caused by the negligent maintenance of the dock area and not an unreasonably dangerous condition on the land.  Coile also tendered jury instructions based on negligence, while the defendant tendered premises liability instructions. The judge instructed the jury as to ordinary negligence.

The demand to settle before trial was $265,000. There was no offer to settle made by the defendant.  At the conclusion of the trial, Coile’s attorneys, James J. Hagle and Aaron Lauter, asked the jury to return a verdict of $176,173, which the jury did, but reduced the verdict by 40% for contributory negligence of plaintiff Daniel Coile.

The jury’s verdict of $105,704 after the 40 percent reduction was made up of the following damages:

$31,700 for past medical expenses;

$11,004 for lost earnings;

$45,000 for pain and suffering; and

$18,000 for loss of normal life.

Daniel Coile v. Shepherd’s Closet, Inc., d/b/a Closet Two, No. 12 L 5 (Ford County, Illinois).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling automobile accidents, truck crashes and injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 37 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Oak Park, Cicero, Oak Lawn, Blue Island, Calumet Park, Harvey, Calumet City, Orland Park, Justice, Chicago (Midway, Marquette Park, Englewood, Gresham) and Western Springs, Ill.

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