Steven Parker was an employee of Black Toppers Inc. when he was driving on Interstate 95 in a Black Toppers truck pulling a loaded flatbed trailer owned by Sam’s Paving. Parker lost control of his truck, which swerved to the right, and over-corrected, which led to him crashing through the highway’s guardrail.

Parker’s truck collided head-on with Carlos Mendez’s vehicle.

Mendez, 28, was killed in the crash. He was survived by his common-law spouse and five minor children. Mendez had been an electrician earning approximately $40,000 per year.

Continue reading

James Archibald was a diabetes patient who had called his wife to say he was coming home from work early because he was feeling ill. Archibald was driving along a westbound rural road in southern Illinois at about 9 p.m. Suddenly, he encountered a hazard: A tractor-trailer owned by Orbit Express was blocking both lanes; other westbound drivers had managed to avoid the tractor-trailer.

A few hours earlier, the Orbit Express truck driver tried to turn around and got stuck when a rear tire on his big rig went into a ditch. Although the tractor’s headlights made it look like it was moving east, the trailer completely obstructed the westbound lane. Archibald reportedly crashed into the trailer at full speed, with no swerving or breaking. He died a few months later; before his death, he had been unable to explain what had happened.

Orbit Express moved for summary judgment on this tort claim filed by Archibald’s widow. Orbit Express focused on the causation requirement.

Continue reading

Michael Maschmeyer was the co-owner of Chicago Roof, Deck and Garden LLC (CRDG) with 42.5% of the interest in the company. Darren Flynn and Tomasz Bartosiewicz owned the remaining 57.5% interest in the company.

Flynn and Maschmeyer had been partners for several landscaping and real estate development businesses in the past. They formed CRDG to provide outdoor living design, construction and landscaping services. All construction work was done by another company owned by Bartosiewicz and CRDG’s captive subcontractor.

Between 2009 and 2014, Maschmeyer deposited more than $1.7 million in checks made payable to CRDG, all for CRDG labor, to his personal bank account and refused to return $850,000 when confronted by Flynn and Bartosiewicz. Instead, Maschmeyer and his wife, Anne, formed Urban Rooftops LLC, a company directly competing with CRDG.

Continue reading

ABC Acquisition Co.’s breach of fiduciary duty claim was brought against James Trausche, the former president of Aetna Bearing Co. Trausche’s business assets were acquired by ABC.  This issue of law presented a question of first impression under Illinois law about an officer’s obligations to a successor corporation.

After ABC purchased substantially all of Aetna’s assets (including intellectual property) and hired three of Aetna’s employees (including Donald Koziel) Trausche formed AIP Products Corp., hired Koziel and started competing against ABC.

ABC filed a federal complaint in the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. ABC alleged that Trausche, AIP, and Koziel violated the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act and the Illinois Trade Act (Count 1 and 2). The complaint also alleged that Koziel violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and breached his employment agreement (Count 3 and 4) and that Trausche and Koziel breached fiduciary duties allegedly owed to ABC.

Continue reading

Mr. Doe, a 44-year-old electrician, was hired by a general contractor to perform electrical work at a housing development project.

When Mr. Doe stepped on the mid-rail of a temporary guardrail, installed to provide fall protection on a second-story landing, the mid-rail collapsed. It had been joined with just one nail. Mr. Doe toppled over the guardrail and fell about 15 feet to the landing below.

He suffered numerous injuries in the fall. His many injuries included a severe closed-head injury, a skull fracture, an intracerebral hemorrhage, and facial, rib, scapular and wrist fractures.

Continue reading

In a 2-1 decision, the Illinois Appellate Court reversed a judgment that resulted in a $1 million verdict in punitive damages and a $163,327 in compensatory damages. The suit was brought against Pan-Oceanic Engineering Co. for reckless conduct that allegedly caused a motor vehicle crash, injuring Fletcher McQueen.  It was alleged that McQueen was injured because (1) Pan-Oceanic conceded it was liable for any negligence by its employee, Lavonta M. Green, and (2) the jury decided Green was not negligent.

Justice Mary L. Mikva dissented because she relied on the line of cases supplied by the majority – which concluded that “once an employer admits responsibility under respondeat superior, a plaintiff may not proceed against the employer on another theory of imputed liability such as negligent entrustment or negligent hiring,” Gant v. LU Transport Inc., 331 Ill.App.3d 924 (2002) – “as being at odds with several well-reasoned decisions of this court.”

And even if Gant should be followed, Justice Mikva believed “the majority unnecessarily and unfairly extends application of the rule in that case beyond its principled parameters.”

Continue reading

Jose Maclovio, an 18-year-old farmworker, was riding home in a van driven by Ramiro Tadeo-Lazaaro.

A vehicle driven by Craig Brewer rear-ended the van as it was stopped at a railroad crossing. Maclovio suffered a burst fracture at C5, which required an emergency surgery.  Sadly, despite this treatment, Maclovio suffered partial quadriplegia.

He sued Tadeo-Lazaaro, Brewer and the van’s owner alleging negligent operation of the defendants’ vehicles.

Continue reading

Gina Sanderson, 48, drove her vehicle into an intersection where there was a two-way stop sign. Her car was struck from the side by a tractor-trailer driven by Philip Wright. He had run through the stop sign. Wright was an employee of Darling Ingredients Inc.  Sanderson suffered a right leg tibia pilon fracture that involved the ankle as well. The injury required two surgeries. She now experiences chronic pain and has a collapsed arch and a foot and ankle deformity among other issues.

Sanderson, who is an autism consultant, is unable to continue working full time.

She sued Wright, alleging that he chose not to stop at a stop sign, failed to keep a proper lookout and did not yield the right-of-way. The lawsuit against Darling Ingredients alleged owner liability under state law.

Continue reading

Shane Denil was driving his Mazda Miata when his car was rear-ended by a box truck driven by Andrew Bassett. Denil suffered a concussion and herniations to his cervical and lumbar spine. He underwent cervical disk surgery, a lumbar radio frequency ablation, and a lumbar laminectomy, which resulted in medical expenses totaling $470,000.

He sued Bassett, alleging that he chose not to keep a proper lookout, which caused the rear-end crash. The lawsuit did not claim lost income.

The defendant argued that Denil had a pre-existing back and neck injury that was exasperated by this crash. However, before trial the parties settled for $1 million.

Continue reading

Eduardo Guzman was employed by TDH Mechanical, which provided heating, ventilation and air conditioning services. TDH bought an insurance policy from Columbia Insurance Group to cover the period from April 2016 through April 2017. Rockwell Properties owned a part of the property under construction in Chicago.

Prairie Management & Development was the construction manager at this property. In February 2017, Prairie and Rockwell contracted with TDH to provide HVAC services at this property.

The contract contained provisions stating that TDH assumed responsibility and liability for any damages or injury of any kind to all persons and all property growing out of TDH’s work on the project. The contract also specified that both Prairie and Rockwell were to be named as additional insureds on TDH’s insurance policy.

Continue reading