The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

August 2012 Archives

Chicago Legionnaires' Outbreak Causes Four Deaths So Far

Out of the 8,000 former guests of the J.W. Marriott during the time frame of exposure, there have been nine confirmed cases of Legionnaire’s disease. Out of those, the Chicago Tribune is reporting that two have died. A third death is being reported by the Independent Ireland.

One of the victims was a physician from Florida who was previously believed to have passed away from pneumonia. Another, 66-year-old Tom Keane, was a retired Irishman who was celebrating his 40th wedding anniversary with his wife. Keane and his wife were not guests, but were visiting his son who worked at the Chicago hotel.

How to File a Police Brutality Complaint in Chicago

What is it about Chicago that seems to attract police brutality cases? Is it the exponentially high murder rates that are plaguing certain neighborhoods of this toddlin' town? Or is it just a bunch of cops with bad attitudes and poor training?

In the last few months, we've seen a miscarriage allegedly caused by excessive force, the settlement of a decades-old police-sanctioned torture lawsuit, and at least seven other tales of Chicagoland cops behaving badly. (There were more out there, of course, but we're a personal injury blog, not a police brutality blog.)

So what do you do when the cops take things a little too far?

BP Has Bad Gas: Lawsuits Filed Over Broken-Down Cars

Foul fuel is to blame for a rash of clogged cars, reports the Chicago Tribune. A flood of cars in Northwest Indiana were pushed and towed to service stations for clogged fuel systems. The culprit, it seems, was dirty gas produced by British Petroleum's Whiting refinery.

BP has already made efforts to minimize the damage by recalling 2.1 million gallons of gas. Contaminated fuel has been traced to stations in Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin, though the vast majority of the damaged vehicles are in Lake County, Ind.

If you purchased any of the filthy fuel, here are the recommended steps:

Chicago Legionnaires' Outbreak Linked to Hotel in the Loop

Here's the good news: The source of a Chicago Legionnaires' disease outbreak has been located and cleaned, reports the Chicago Tribune.

After three former guests of the J.W. Marriott in the Loop were diagnosed with the pneumonia-like infection, the Chicago Department of Health stepped in and tracked the source of the bacteria to the hotel's pool, hot tub, and fountain. The air conditioning system was unaffected.

The bad news is, more than 8,000 former guests of the hotel may have been exposed between July 16 and Aug. 15 of this year.

7th Circuit: Kanye's Copyright Infringement Argument is 'Stronger'

What do Kelly Clarkson, Kanye West, some dude named Vince P, and that annoying uncle that gives life advice via clichés (this too shall pass, if the shoe fits, you’ll know it when you see it, etc.) all have in common?

Apparently, they are all Friedrich Nietzsche fans. Duh. Who hasn’t read Freddy’s “Twilight of the Idols”? Everybody got the reference when the Kanye classic and the Clarkson abomination each took over the radio. Doesn’t every father read German philosophy to his kids at bedtime?

Megabus Lawsuits Filed, But Investigation is Far from Over

Aren't these lawyers jumping the gun a little bit? Just a couple of weeks ago, a Megabus crashed into a concrete pillar on its way to St. Louis. One passenger was killed and 47 others were hurt. At the time, the crash was blamed on a blown tire. No other causes or contributing factors have yet been discovered. However, that hasn't stopped the Megabus lawsuits, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Attorneys for the plaintiffs are blaming shoddy maintenance and speeding.

Why are the lawyers so eager? No, the answer is not a lawyer joke. It's preservation of evidence.

Legal U: Don't Ditch the Scene of an Accident!

"What kind of idiot cuts off an [expletive] Hummer?", Jason wondered as he viewed the remnants of the Suzuki Esteem through his front windshield. "How much 'Esteem' do you have now, [expletive]?"

Yeah, that really wasn't young Jason's fault. The idiot in the subcompact sedan cut him off and then slammed on his breaks.

"Crap. I've got a meeting in Oak Park in 15 minutes. What do I do?"

Sorry Jason. You're going to miss that meeting. Whatever you do, you better not leave the scene of the accident. It doesn't matter who was at fault, and it really doesn't matter if you had an important meeting. Absent a hemorrhaging open wound or other life and death situation, the police aren't going to look fondly upon your hit and run.

Plastic Surgery Patients' Names, Breasts Revealed Online

Therein lies the problem with the Internet. One mis-click, one forgetful staffer, or one failed redundancy check, and the confidential identify behind your “before and after” plastic surgery shots will have your name, your cosmetic surgery procedure, and revealing photos for anyone who Googles you.

According to the Post-Dispatch, at least one St. Louis plastic surgeon — and possibly many more across the country — have been posting images of women, before and after cosmetic surgery, with the patients’ identities still attached to the photos.

Safety Tips for Your Child's Return to the Academic Jungle

For one-third of Chicago students, school's back! The remaining students will report for duty in just a couple of weeks. For the nerdy children, this is a joyous time. Even for the "cool" kids, a return to school means more time with friends, more recess, and sports! Who doesn't love sports?

As part of the longer school day, at some schools, that recess time might be getting longer, reports the Chicago Tribune. Courtesy of the Federal Consumer Products Safety Commission, here are a few recreation-related safety tips for all of you parents out there:

Keep An Eye on Your Problem Child or It Could Cost You

Do you have a disciplinary problem with your kid? You've tried disciplining little Jimmy, but you don't believe in a good old fashioned paddling. You can't even watch Problem Child because it hits a little too close to home. Every time you hear a scream, you immediately look around to see who little Jimmy is torturing.

It's time to face facts: Your child has a problem. If you don't get it under control, it could end up costing you a lot of money thanks to the Illinois Parental Responsibility Law.

Motorcyclist Allegedly Rammed by Cruiser, Beaten by Cop

One wonders if there is more to this story.

The plaintiff, Jorge Velez, alleged in a lawsuit filed on August 3 that a Maywood Police Officer, Hector Matias (a.k.a. H. Matais), gave chase to Velez for unknown reasons. Matias then allegedly rammed Velez’s motorcycle with his police cruiser, severely injuring Velez. Officer Matias wasn’t done however. He then allegedly rammed Velez’s face into the ground repeatedly, reports the Courthouse News Service.

That’s a sucky day. And that day wasn’t quite over, as Matias then arrested Velez and filed charges. Fortunately for the quite-sore-plaintiff, the prosecutor dropped the charges after reviewing a surveillance tape of the incident.

Lunchtime Reading: John Deere, Impalement, and Proximate Cause

Should this lawsuit survive the pleading stage, and not settle quickly, you can almost guarantee that it will be in law school textbooks within a few years. The plaintiff, Larry Faust, (and his wife) sued John Deere after his runaway lawn mower threw him onto a fence post that impaled his testicles, reports the Courthouse News Service.

The cause of the accident is kind of hard to understand without a diagram of the mower. Per Courthouse News:

The upper bolt in the right-hand steering lever can catch on the lift stop bracket, causing the steering lever to remain in the forward position. He says there is no guard to prevent the right hand steering lever from catching on the lift stop bracket, and no warnings about it.

Funeral Protest Ban Nearly Guarantees Victorious Lawsuits

Throughout the history of this great nation, Americans have been willing to violate the law and spend time in jail in order to protest things that they disagreed with. There have been hunger strikes for women’s suffrage and sit-ins for civil rights. Often, these protestors would end up in jail for their trouble. History has proven that people will sit in a cell to defend their beliefs.

That’s why criminal offenses sometimes aren’t enough to curtail disagreeable behavior. A two-pronged approach, of criminal and civil liability, is often far more effective. Perhaps that was the rationale behind the new law that seeks to curtail the Westboro Baptist Church protests. While they may be willing to go to jail in order to yell “God Hates Fags!” at the families of dead soldiers, will they be able to withstand a simultaneous assault on their pocketbooks?

Dr. Panos Acquitted of Fondling Kids; Should He Sue Them?

Dr. Ernest Panos is finally a free man. The 81-year-old orthodontist has been staring down long prison sentences for what seems to have been false accusations, reports the Chicago Tribune. Last month, we covered his first acquittal. Yesterday afternoon, he was cleared of the other girl's accusations.

Obviously, getting accused of fondling 13-year-old and 15-year-old girls is going to cause some trouble in your professional life, especially when you own your own business. Thanks to a change in Illinois law, Dr. Panos had to have a chaperone oversee all of his work with patients after the initial allegation.