The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

2-Year Stall in Nightmarish Police Negligence Suit May End Soon

Last Thursday, lawyers for Christina Eilman, a permanently disabled woman, requested that parts of Eilman’s stalled lawsuit against the city of Chicago commence while they wait for appellate judges to rule on an appeal filed over two years ago, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Two weeks before the trial was to commence in March 2010, the city appealed a ruling that retained police officers as defendants, in an alleged attempt to stall. The matter was forwarded to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, but it’s been 18 months since oral arguments and the appellate court still hasn’t ruled on the matter.

Eilman was arrested for erratic behavior at Midway Airport. Although a police commander ordered that she be taken to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation, officers took Eilman to a lockup in the Wentworth District, one of the city’s highest-crime areas, before releasing her onto the streets without any assistance.

Eilman, who was allegedly experiencing a mental breakdown, wandered into a high-rise where she was raped before falling from a seventh-floor window. She suffered severe brain damage, a collapsed lung, a shattered pelvis, and various other injuries.

Eilman’s lawsuit involves two claims. First, she claims that police were negligent in releasing her into a high-crime area where they knew Eilman would be likely to meet great harm. Second, she claims that the police violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when they denied her access to mental health care while she was in their custody.

In a personal injury case based on a theory of negligence, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed her a duty of care, and in breaching that duty of care, the defendant caused the plaintiff to be injured. Eilman is claiming that the police had a duty to drop her off in an area where she wouldn’t be harmed. In failing to do that, the police breached their duty, and Eilman was injured as a direct consequence.

Eilman is likely seeking medical expenses, the costs of her daily care, lost wages, and compensation for her pain and suffering.

Christina Eilman has no health insurance and currently depends on California state medical aid and her parents for care. According to her parents, she will remain severely mentally and physically disabled for the rest of her life.

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