The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

December 2010 Archives

An unnamed Chicago mother filed suit against McDonald's Corp., claiming 53-year-old Pablo Salgado exposed himself to her 9-year-old daughter last year, according to an article by Crain's Chicago Business. The defendant had a criminal record of sex crimes, which the McDonald's franchisee allegedly failed to check.

In addition to McDonald's, the lawsuit also names franchisee Wright Management Inc. and Pablo Salgado as defendants. The former employee is currently serving a one-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to sexual exploitation.

As the Midwest and the East Coast get hammered by blizzards, it's a good time to talk about premises liability. More to the point, what is a homeowner's responsibility with respect to shoveling (or not shoveling) snow on driveways and sections of sidewalk in front of one's house?

Some homeowners refuse to shovel snow not because they're lazy but because they believe it actually increases their chance of getting slapped with a slip-and-fall lawsuit.

It sounds crazy but is it really true?

Several manufacturers of drop-side baby cribs, blamed on at least 32 infant deaths and countless injuries, have recalled their products in the last few years. Now, after an unanimous vote by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, drop-side cribs have been banned, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported.

As part of its ban and mandate for better crib designs, U.S. child care providers and hotels will have to replace all drop-side baby cribs with safer models within the next two years. Commercial providers may end up paying $467.5 million to replace 935,000 units, according to CPSC estimates.

The Cook County town of Crestwood, accused of secretly pumping contaminated water to homes for more than 20 years, has agreed to pay residents $500,000 to settle one of the class action suits against it, the Chicago Tribune reported. Residents also will get two years of free garbage service, free vehicle stickers and free business licenses as part of the deal.

A 2009 Tribune investigation uncovered the tainted water scheme. State environmental officials told Crestwood officials in the mid-1980s that its well was contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals, but nothing was done.

Chicago resident Sarah Thienes claims a West Side McDonald's employee refused to sell her a cheeseburger, then refused to make her a breakfast bagel, and then finally spat in her face, the Chicago Tribune reported. She is suing the 23 N. Western Ave. McDonald's franchise, owned by Ron Lofton.

She claims she pulled up to the drive-through window in a taxi at roughly 3:50 a.m. and ordered a cheeseburger. The employee allegedly told her in "an aggressive and unfriendly tone" that only breakfast items were available.

Two California men claiming they suffered hot butter burns from "exploding" escargot were denied a trial by a recent court ruling, as reported by the San Jose Mercury News. Their lawsuit holding the restaurant responsible for the allegedly dangerous French delicacy was dismissed with prejudice.

Diners Chadwick St. O'Harra and Steve Righetti sued San Rafael restaurant Seafood Peddler last June after their delicately prepared snails allegedly ruptured (i.e. "exploded") and splattered hot garlic butter across their faces and clothing.

Jill Vaughn, the mother of a Lindenhurst man who died from a drug overdose, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Lake County Coroner Richard Keller, according to the Chicago Tribune. The coroner treated the man, Steven Vaughn, for drug addiction while he was the director of a methadone clinic.

Her lawsuit also names the now-defunct Green Dragonfly addiction clinic as a defendant, seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

Steven Vaughn died on Dec. 3, 2008, just hours after receiving a prescription for methadone in his second day of treatment. State and federal regulators closed the clinic in August 2009 after finding numerous violations.

Countless Americans have been injured in Christmas injuries while hanging holiday lights, shoveling driveways, probably even while sipping hot chocolate. More recently, a Highland Park man claims he permanently injured himself while hanging garland around his front door in December 2008, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Michael Montalbano said he was busy decking the halls (or, more specifically, his door) when a metal fastener attached to the decoration pierced his palm. He claims he permanently injured his thumb and forefinger during the incident and has sued the seller of the decoration.

Baseball is not considered a contact sport and is not known for serious injuries, at least not at the little league level. But 11-year-old pitcher Jake Schutter may beg to differ after a line drive left him deaf in one ear, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. Now his family is suing aluminum bat maker Easton for the injury.

The hard-hit ball struck the left side of Jake Schutter's head, after which he dropped to the ground and vomited. It's still uncertain whether he sustained cognitive damage but his family was told he would be permanently deaf in his left ear.

Sheri Schooley sued suburban Detroit restaurant Texas Roadhouse after she allegedly injured her hand on a toilet paper dispenser, according to an Associated Press article published on the web site of Fort Wayne television station WANE.

The Michigan Supreme Court recently ruled 4-3 to allow the lawsuit to move ahead, ending two appeal attempts. The 58-year-old plaintiff admitted to reporters that her case involves a "bizarre story."

Kathleen Green, the grandmother of one of the stars of MTV's reality television show "16 and Pregnant," told reporters at celebrity gossip web site TMZ.com that she may sue the show's producers for defamation.

She's the grandmother of father Isaiah Green, one of the "baby daddies" featured on the show.

The potential plaintiff said MTV's "set up" shots and use of editing misrepresented her family in one episode that focuses on Isaiah Green, teenage mother Christinna Robinson and the birth of their daughter, Destiny. In fact, she claims, "nothing that aired is what happened" in real life.

Illinois resident Dan Little claims an employee at the Holiday Inn Express where he was staying mistakenly led police officers to his room, where they broke down his door in search of a crime suspect, the St. Clair Record reported. He filed suit against parent company Intercontinental Hotels in Madison County Circuit Court on Nov. 23.

The plaintiff claims he was staying a Holiday Inn Express in Pembroke, North Carolina when police came to his room in the middle of the night. It's not clear from the article why the lawsuit was filed in Illinois, since the incident allegedly took place in North Carolina and the company is headquartered in the UK (with a US office in Salt Lake City, Utah).

A case involving a Lincoln Town Car that ignited when a pipe wrench in the car's truck ripped open the gas tank after being rear-ended is currently being reviewed by the Illinois Supreme Court, according to the St. Clair Record.

Plaintiff Dora Mae Jablonski, who was severely burned in the incident and lost her husband in the blaze, was awarded $43 million by the Fifth District Appellate Court in February. But Ford Motor Co., which makes Lincolns, believes the verdict could expose the company to open-ended liability.