The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

May 2011 Archives

Whole Foods Selling Genetically Modified Foods?

No one shopping at Whole Foods would think they are buying potentially unsafe genetically modified foods. In fact, unless a shopper showed up at the North Kingsbury Street Whole Foods during a dramatic protest by demonstrators wearing white hazmat suits, there would be no way to know that the food they purchased there (or elsewhere) possibly contained genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

However, the odds are that you've eaten genetically modified food. Lots of it. The Chicago Tribune reports that GMOs are used in nearly 70 percent of American processed foods, therefore finding their way even into foods sold by a chain known for organic products.

Trampoline Parks In The Chicago Area: Are They Safe?

Trampoline parks, like Xtreme Trampolines at the Carol Stream warehouse, have made their way to Chicago area after being all the rage in the West Coast. New parks are also expected to be built in Niles, Buffalo Grove, and Naperville as park owners contend that the activity is wholesome and fun for all ages.

But while owners assert that their customers are informed about safety and that padding helps reduce the risk of injury on a trampoline, the Chicago Sun-Times reported many local residents and critics are still not convinced that trampoline parks are safe.

At the Carol Stream Park, for instance, 16 ambulances were dispatched for trauma resulting from a trampoline accident since the park opened in November.

Karla Rupp Sues Chicago's Phusion Projects Over Four Loko

Karla Rupp, 46, has filed a lawsuit against Chicago-based manufacturer Phusion Projects for the death of her 15-year-old son Bo Rupp, who died after drinking two cans of the company's popular but controversial drink "Four Loko." The young teen passed away last September after a car struck him as he walked into a highway in a Washington D.C. suburb while intoxicated.

As many Chicago locals may have heard, the FDA has forced Phusion to decaffeinate the alcoholic beverage because the amount of caffeine in the product was an "unsafe food additive." The Chicago Sun-Times reported Four Loko has often also been blamed for encouraging binge and underage drinking and causing alcohol poisoning in colleges across the country.

Justyna Palka's Family Sues Bus Company For Wrongful Death

The family of 24-year-old Justyna Palka, who died in a car accident earlier this month after she was hit by a bus, has recently filed a wrongful death suit against the bus company Pontarelli Group Charters. The suit argues that Pontarelli should not have hired bus driver David Soto, 47, who was behind the wheel during the May 3 car crash.

Soto was kept behind bars on charges involving aggravated DUI for Palka's death, according to the Chicago Tribune. Prosecutors and police officials said Soto was found with cocaine in his system during the car accident, which occurred on Columbus Drive and Illinois Street. Court records also revealed Soto had 20 previous driving tickets between 1988 and 2008.

Brutal Aurora Apartment Fire Kills 4 And Injures 12

A recent fatal fire in an apartment building on Claim Street in Aurora killed six individuals while leading 12 other victims to be hospitalized. Two women, who were between 30 and 40 years of age, and a 9-year-old boy were pronounced dead at the scene, while an 8-month old infant, a boy 5 to 7 years of age, and a 20-year-old man died upon arriving at the Rush-Copley Medical Center.

Francisco Marcos, his wife Micaela Perez, and two of their children were reportedly among those who were killed in the Aurora apartment fire. The Chicago Sun-Times reported firefighters were able to rescue 10 people from the fire, although several residents were stuck in the three-story complex and forced to flee through a back staircase or by jumping out of the windows.

Illinois Ranks No. 2 In Dog Bite Claims, Says State Farm

Illinois, the country's fifth most populous state, is ranked as the second state next to California with the highest total payouts and the largest number of dog bite insurance claims made nationally, based on recent report released by Bloomington-based insurer, State Farm.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the insurance company listed the country's top 10 states with the most dog bite claims and the amounts paid out because of such animal attacks. The report showed that State Farm had 317 claims in Illinois last year and paid out a total of $9.7 million for dog bites, while California had 369 dog bite claims in 2010 and left the insurer paying $11.3 million.

Construction Accident in South Side Bridge Injures Two Workers

Authorities reported two construction workers suffered serious injuries while working on a bridge in South Side. Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Robert Perez said the construction accident occurred in a Washington Heights neighborhood, where a lift-crane fell over and struck one of the men, a 59-year-old employee.

Both workers were conscious when law enforcement officials arrived at the scene, reported the Chicago Tribune. However, Perez said the crane had hit the 59-year-old worker’s upper body and left him in severe to critical condition, but it did not crush the victim.

Alderman Burke Proposes Law Against Texting While Driving

Alderman Edward M. Burke (14th) recently proposed at the last meeting of the old City Council that cell phones sold in Chicago after January 1 should include a particular feature that lets parents keep their children from texting while driving. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the ordinance would be considered effective on the first of January.

Under the legislation, no person will be allowed to sell a cell phone unless it is "equipped with a feature that allows an authorized user to disable the data services while the devices are in a motor vehicle being driven at a speed greater than 5 miles per hour." Those who violate the law will be subject to paying fines ranging from $100 to $500 for every offense.

Car Crashes Into Dunkin' Donuts, Leaves 2 Injured

A taxi cab and an SUV slammed into one another in the West Loop, leaving two motorists suffering injuries after the SUV ran through a Dunkin' Donuts. Chicago Police spokesperson Robert Perez said the car accident occurred close to the intersection of West Adams and South Wells.

Perez said the SUV smashed into the front of a Dunkin' Donuts store on West Adams and eventually got stuck there, reported the Chicago Sun-Times. Both drivers suffered injuries from the crash but appeared to be in fair condition. Still, authorities immediately brought them to the Northwestern Memorial Hospital.