The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

March 2010 Archives

Off-duty Chicago Police officer Cameron D. Karshna was riding his motorcycle on Touhy Ave. last year when he was struck by a car driven by Raymond T. Adams, as detailed by WBBM Chicago. A lawsuit filed by Mr. Karshna's father claims his son was unable to avoid the accident because of potholes in the street.

He is suing the city for more than $100,000 in a wrongful death lawsuit filed earlier this month.

Mr. Adams received a citation for failing to yield to oncoming traffic while making a left turn and failing to wear a seatbelt, according to police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli.

No more information about the lawsuit was made available by local media. But this is hardly the first time an Illinois injury attorney has been called to help with a pothole-related legal action.

FindLaw tells us that public figures like Chicago's own Oprah Winfrey generally cannot sue others for libel or slander, the two main types of defamation, by virtue of their celebrity. But there's nothing to stop someone from suing a public figure for defamation.

CNN reports that Ms. Winfrey, the famous talk show host and trend-setter, has been sued for defamation by the former headmistress of the South African girls school she funded and helped start. As a result of this lawsuit, Ms. Winfrey was going to be required to appear in court in Philadelphia.

Lerato Nomvuyo Mzamane claims Ms. Winfrey defamed her in 2007 by making public statements implying that Ms. Mzamane knew about alleged sex abuse at the school and covered it up. She was suspended upon the public release of Ms. Winfrey's remarks and later fired from her post.

The St. Charles Sun reported on an Illinois Supreme Court decision allowing wrongful death lawsuits against a Chicago-area strip club for its alleged role in a drunk driving accident. An expectant mother and her unborn child were killed when a car driven by John Homatas crossed the center line and hit them head-on.

He was sentenced to 12 years in prison for driving under the influence and causing three fatalities. Mr. Homatas' passenger, 25-year-old John Chiariello, also was killed in the accident.

But Illinois injury attorney Craig D. Mielke, representing the family of Mr. Chiariello, now has the green light to help the deceased individuals' family members recover wrongful death damages from the strip club Diamonds Gentlemen's Club. The Illinois Supreme Court delivered its opinion in the case, Simmons et al. v. Homatas et al., on March 18 (PDF)

Yet another Chicago-area nursing home is in the spotlight over allegations of extreme negligence and abuse, as reported by Chicago Sun-Times Kane County affiliate The Courier-News. Plaintiffs say Tower Hill Healthcare Center in South Elgin failed to "provide a safe and comfortable home" for 54-year-old Rodney L. Volkening.

After suffering a spike in body temperature on July 5, 2008, the man was moved to Sherman Hospital in Elgin. Hospital staff filed a report with the Illinois Dept. of Human Services "because he presented to the emergency room with poor oral hygiene and poor skin care," Illinois injury lawyer (and attorney for the plaintiffs) Craig Brown told reporters.

Specifically, the report claims he had a large amount of feces on his body, a ruptured colostomy bag, severe bedsores, and a fever of 107 degrees. He reportedly was not given any anti-fever medication prior to his arrival at the hospital. 

Deerfield residents Amy and Andrew Kingan received a $2 million settlement for the death of their 16-month-old son in the wake of criminal charges, the Chicago Daily Herald reported. Benjamim Kingan died from injuries suffered at the now closed Minee-Subee day-care center in Lincolnshire on Jan. 14 2009.

Chicago accident attorney Francis Patrick Murphy was able to secure the settlement on behalf of the Kingans even before filing what would have been a wrongful death lawsuit.

Mrs. Kingan plans to testify before state legislators with regard to pending legislation dubbed "Stop Abuse at Day-Cares." The settlement was secured on Feb. 24:

"We'd give everything we have to have (Benjamin) back. We're just looking for closure ... and to do something so that this doesn't happen to another family."

It's not a formal recall, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a warning that baby slings can be dangerous or even deadly to infants, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Baby slings and carriers come in such a dizzying array of styles, as you can see from this ad from Sling Station, that it would be difficult to pinpoint which are safe and which are not so safe.

The agency has investigated more than 13 deaths related to baby slings in the last two decades, three in just the last year. Twelve of those deaths involved infants younger than four months.

Specifically, the CPSC warns that baby slings have the potential to cause suffocation in one of two ways:

The Associated Press reports that pet food maker Nature's Variety has expanded its voluntary recall of chicken-flavored pet food. Only packages with a best-by date of Nov. 10, 2010 were initially affected, but the recall now includes the same products with best-by dates on or before Feb. 5, 2011.

Company officials said the raw, frozen food product may be contaminated with salmonella. In the unfortunate event that your dog or other pet develops symptoms of salmonellosis, you should first contact a veterinarian, but you may also want to call an Illinois injury attorney.

Federal courts have in the past approved settlements on behalf of pets sickened by tainted food. In 2007, a New Jersey federal judge approved the creation of a $24 million fund to settle claims associated with contaminated food from Menu Foods Ltd., as reported by FindLaw's Common Law Blog.

The Naperville Sun reported on a couple that claims their young son, J.B., became violently ill after eating at the Subway restaurant at 1009 E. Roosevelt Rd. in Lombard. Ron and Sarah Bowers say they ate there on Feb. 26.

A bacterial illness known as shigellosis has been confirmed by DuPage County health officials as the cause of the boy's symptoms.

Officials are advising anyone who ate at that particular Subway between Feb. 24 and March 1 and experienced diarrhea, vomiting, fever or stomach cramps to contact their doctor and report the illness to the health department (630-682-7400).

It might also be a good idea to contact an Illinois injury attorney.

Who among us hasn't at one time or another stood in awe of a perfect pyramid of fresh golden apples or glowing tangerines while strolling down a supermarket aisle? My personal favorites are the bright purple eggplants that show up in late summer. 

Usually the floors of the produce section are relatively clean but allegedly that wasn't the case for Halina Dymora, who is suing Jewel Food Stores Inc. in a slip and fall legal action, Chicago Now's Chicago Bar-Tender reports. 

It wasn't a banana peel or a puddle of tomato juice she allegedly fell on, but a piece of wood. She didn't see it because she allegedly was transfixed by the store's lovely fruits and vegetables: 

Plaintiff was unaware of the presence of the piece of wood as her attention was directed at the vegetables in front of her.

Paxil Suicide Suit Forges Ahead

US Court of Appeals Judge Michael M. Mihm, for the Seventh Circuit, recently ruled that the products liability lawsuit against the maker of the antidepressant Paxil by the parents of a young woman who committed suicide seven years ago may move ahead (PDF). Tricia Mason, 23-years-old at the time, ingested a lethal dose of cyanide just two days after she started taking Paxil.  

In non-legalese, it means the drug maker cannot simply state that the death is on the Food and Drug Administration's shoulders just because they may not have required a warning label.

Chicago injury lawyers and attorneys across the nation likely are taking notice of the ruling, which reverses a lower court decision that came before a recent Supreme Court opinion in a different case.

After being hit with nearly 50 medical malpractice lawsuits claiming botched Lasik eye surgeries, the Illinois Dept. of Financial and Professional Regulation banned Dr. Nicholas Caro from performing the corrective eye surgery in the state, the Chicago Tribune reports. Lasik changes the shape of the eye to improve the vision of nearsighted individuals, as explained by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Tribune reported on the flood of lawsuits against Dr. Caro in July. Nicholas Pucek's allegedly botched procedure by Dr. Caro left him with even worse vision than before the surgery, but he received a settlement in excess of $800,000 with the help of an Illinois injury attorney.  

Mr. Pucek was reluctant to give too many details to reporters due to the terms of the settlement, but had this to say:

"Ten years later I still have headaches when I read and I'm not able to do some of the things I was able to do prior to the Lasik surgery."

If allegations by a Chicago couple are accurate, an Evanston Hospital staffer handed new mom Jennifer Spiegel the wrong baby, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. A shocked nurse saw Mrs. Spiegel breast-feeding the boy and realized it wasn't her son.

The nurse told her that she was just with their actual son and that the baby she was feeding "isn't yours." So Mrs. Spiegel filed a negligence lawsuit, telling reporters that news of the alleged mix-up gave her "an awful, internal feeling."

Mrs. Spiegel's husband Scott just so happens to be an Illinois injury attorney and is handling the case himself.

A Rhode Island meat company and two of its former spice suppliers are defendants in a tainted food lawsuit brought by a Chicago man, the Associated Press reports. Raymond Cirimele filed suit for an illness he claims was the result of eating salami produced by Daniele International Inc. Wholesome Spice, and Mincing Overseas Spice Company were named co-defendants in the suit.

Daniele International recalled roughly 1.26 million pounds of its meat products in January and expanded the recall to include 115,000 pounds of peppered salami in February, according to the US Dept. of Agriculture. 

The culprit? Possible salmonella contamination in the pepper used in the salami, according to a Chicago Sun-Times article about Mr. Cirimele's lawsuit. Mr. Cirimele claims that he regularly bought the affected salami at a Costco store in Cook County.

Personal injury lawsuits in Chicago and elsewhere are called "adversarial" for a reason: Regardless of which party ultimately prevails, each party's Illinois injury attorney has the duty to advocate for his client in order to win the case.

But rape and sexual abuse victims often feel victimized once more when forced to answer for their sexual history, sometimes deciding not to report the crime, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC). The same could be said about civil suits seeking damages for battery or assault on rape or sexual abuse allegations. 

A FAQ section provided by the NCVC discusses so-called "rape shield laws" that limit such potentially humiliating defense tactics. A new Illinois law that took effect on Jan. 1 essentially does just that.