Tomasa Cuevas was traveling in her SUV with her two children, Alejandro, 16, and Maritza, 11. Amarjit Aulakh, an employee of Rai Transport Inc., drove his semi-tractor-trailer through a red light.  This caused a T-bone collision with Cuevas’s vehicle.

Tomasa Cuevas, 42, suffered fractures to her skull and face as well as a traumatic brain injury. Alejandro, who was in the passenger seat, also suffered skull and facial fractures and a traumatic brain injury.  Alejandro was a successful high school cross-country runner who may not be able to return to the sport.  Maritza was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after this horrific crash.

Cuevas and for her children sued Rai Transport, alleging liability for Aulakh’s choosing not to obey a red light. The Cuevas family alleged that Aulakh had been involved in fourteen prior collisions and was driving with a suspended license at the time of this incident. The lawsuit did not claim lost income.

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Donald Peace was driving to work in rainy conditions in the middle of the night.  As he drove along a two-lane highway, Keith Rock attempted to back out onto a side street, blocking several lanes of the highway. Rock was driving a tractor-trailer for Berkeley Scrap Metal.

Peace’s vehicle crashed into the Berkeley Scrap Metal tractor-trailer that was blocking the street; he suffered fatal injuries. He was survived by his wife and two adult children.

The Peace estate and family sued Berkeley Scrap Metal, alleging liability for Rock’s choosing not to keep a proper lookout when backing onto the side street.

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In this appeal, the defendant Michael Maschmeyer’s conduct as a member of the plaintiff, Chicago Roof, Deck and Garden LLC (CRDG), led to an appeal regarding the claimed interest owed CRDG. Plaintiffs Darren Flynn and Tomasz Bartosiewicz owned the rest of the membership interest.

After a bench trial, the trial judge found that Maschmeyer breached his fiduciary duty as a member of CRDG by taking business opportunities that should have been first offered to CRDG. The trial court entered judgment in favor of CRDG and against Maschmeyer as follows: (1) $1,768,927 in compensatory damages, (2) $236,350 in prejudgment interest, and (3) $651,104 in punitive damages. The total judgment in favor of CRDG and against Maschmeyer was $2,656,381.

However, the trial judge also found that CRDG was required to compensate Maschmeyer for the fair value of his membership interest upon his disassociation from CRDG, which the court found occurred on June 16, 2014. The trial court determined that the fair value of Maschmeyer’s membership interest was $2,867,376 and entered judgment in favor of Maschmeyer and against CRDG in that amount. After setting off the amount of the judgment against Maschmeyer, the trial court’s judgments resulted in a net judgment in favor of Maschmeyer and against CRDG in the amount of $210,995.

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M Construction Ltd. was doing utility construction, including digging a 9-foot trench to place pipes in the ground. The company’s foreman instructed employees to enter the trench to dig under a pipe.

The unprotected trench collapsed, killing Rigoberto Tovar, an M Construction employee.  He was just 25 years old and was survived by his wife and stepdaughter.

Tovar’s wife, individually and on behalf of his estate, sued M Construction Ltd., alleging it negligently ordered its employees to work in an unprotected trench and chose not to properly train workers on trench safety.

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In January 2018, a blowout and well fire took place on a Pryor 1H-9 oil rig that trapped five men, including Josh Ray, 35, and Cody Risk, 26. The workers were trapped inside a so-called doghouse, which is a safe house within the rig that is designed to provide protection in case of a fire.

Unfortunately, unable to escape, the two men died from thermal burns and soot inhalation.

Ray had been a driller and was survived by his wife and minor child. Risk had been a floor hand and was survived by three minor children.

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A Will County judge rejected Diana Angell’s attempt to use veil-piercing to overcome a mistake made in suing the wrong defendant. Her attorney sued Santefort Family Holdings LLC when she should have targeted an affiliated company known as Midwest Home Rentals LLC. Having done so, the circuit court judge dismissed the case; however, the Illinois Appellate Court for the Third District reversed with a dissent.

Angell was inspecting a mobile home that was for sale or lease at Tri-Star Estate when she walked into an unlit bathroom and stepped into a hole. She was seriously injured and sued Tri-Star’s owner, Santefort Family Holdings. Even though Santefort Family Holdings owned the real estate, the mobile home was owned by Midwest Home Rentals LLC.

To make matters worse, Santefort Family 2012 Irrevocable Trust reportedly owned numerous affiliates, including Santefort Real Estate Group LLC (which owned the defendant, Santefort Family Holdings), Midwest Home Rentals LLC, Santefort Services LLC, Santefort Property Management Inc. (called SPMI) and an array of single purpose entities.

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James Richardson was seriously injured in an auto crash at 53rd Street and Western Avenue in Chicago, which resulted in a settlement for $1 million against Night Dream Inc. and Shaun T. Small. However, their Nevada-based insurer, Spirit Commercial Auto RRG Inc., was placed in liquidation before it funded the $1 million settlement amount. Because Spirit was a “risk retention group, (RRG),” Richardson couldn’t collect from the insurance guaranty funds in Nevada or Illinois.

He asked for a $1 million judgment against Dream and Small based on the portion of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, Section 2-2301, aimed at insurance companies that slow walk settlement payments.

Richardson requested the judgment more than 30 days after he submitted an executed release and all other documents required by Section 2-2301. Subsection (d) says: “A settling defendant shall pay all sums due to the plaintiff within 30 days of tender by the plaintiff of the executed release and all applicable documents in compliance with subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this Section.”

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Robert Greenhill, the plaintiff, was a sprinkler fitter for a construction project when he was injured at work by a freight elevator.

While he was entering the elevator, another passenger pressed the “door close” button and the elevator gate descended, striking Greenhill.

The Illinois First District Appellate Court held that the open-and-obvious doctrine was not available to the defendants, including REIT Management & Research LLC, Thyssenkrupp Elevator Corp., and the building manager, CW 600 W. Chicago LLC, because the risk of entering the elevator would not have been apparent to a reasonable person in the view of Greenhill.

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Gabriel Goncalves, a 12-year-old boy who was on the autism spectrum, was riding a school bus driven by Mark Hudovenko. During the bus ride, Hudovenko swerved at 45 mph, which was 15 miles over the speed limit. This caused the bus to leave the road and collide with a tree.

Gabriel suffered serious injuries in the crash, including brain hemorrhages, a skull fracture and various lacerations.

Gabriel has been diagnosed as having a traumatic brain injury, which has led to negative behavioral changes, sensory hypersensitivity and memory loss.

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Jacob Hourmouzus was a 17-year-old high school student when he attempted to rescue his dog, which had jumped into an irrigation canal under a metal footbridge on private property. As Jacob and the dog began to be swept away in the canal, he grabbed onto the bridge, which was electrically energized with 240 volts of power. Jacob suffered an electrical shock. He was taken to a hospital for treatment but he later died. Jacob was survived by his parents.

Jacob’s parents sued Solano Irrigation District, a public utility, alleging negligence for choosing not to properly ground the metal footbridge, which caused the bridge to become electrically and dangerously energized.

The lawsuit also alleged that the public utility defendant should have placed private property signs on the bridge to warn of its danger.

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