The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

September 2012 Archives

You'll Rip Your Foot Off! Kid Denied Recovery for Train Jumping

Dominic Choate was 12 years old when he made a really stupid decision. He wanted to impress his girlfriend. There was a moving train. Care to guess what happened next? On his third attempt to mount the moving behemoth, Choate slipped and his foot ended up under the wheel of the train, requiring a below-the-knee amputation.

Last year, a jury awarded him $3.6 million in damages. But last week, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned the verdict and awarded him nothing, finding that a "reasonably intelligent boy" of his age should have appreciated the obvious danger of train jumping.

Peanut Butter Recall Expands to 76 Products, Not Just Trader Joe's

Is no food safe? First there was Kroger spinach. Then Trader Joe's Creamy Valencia Peanut Butter was potentially unsafe. Now add Tahini to the list. And almond butter. And cashew butter. (Really though, as long as you avoid fruits, leafy vegetables, anything peanut or butter related, or sushi, you should be fine.)

The expanded list of 76 products recalled for possible Salmonella contamination is available on Sunland's website. Sunland manufactured TJ's recalled peanut butter. The company also manufactures products for a number of other brands, including Archer Farms, Earth Balance, Fresh & Easy, Heinen's, Natural Value, Joseph's, Naturally More, Open Nature, Peanut Power, Serious Food, Snaclite Power, Sprouts, Sunland, Crunchy Sugar, Creamy Sugar, Dogsbutter, Harry & David, and Serious Food Silly Prices. The recalled food products were manufactured between May 1 and Sept. 24.

Prepaid Contract Options for the iPhone

So, you want to become a follower of the Great Jobs, but you can’t afford to pay nearly $100 per month for the privilege? Fortunately, due to the increased competitiveness of the prepaid cell phone sector, cost is no longer an obstacle to owning an iPhone.

These plans often have other perks as well, such as unlimited offerings, for less than the postpaid carriers. If you are interested in an iPhone, but are contract-averse or unwilling to pay a large monthly rate, follow these steps to get an iPhone on a prepaid network:

Family of Man Burned to Death by Citric Acid Sues Raani Corp.

Carlos Centeno Sr. was sent to clean a tank filled with heated citric acid. According to his family, he was not given gloves or a mask, nor was he warned properly about the danger. When chemicals erupted from the tank and covered Centeno, he was burned on more than 80 percent of his body.

Though his skin was peeling from the burns, no ambulance was called, nor were the chemicals sprayed off in a safety shower. After about 30 minutes, a co-worker finally took Centeno to the hospital. He died less than a month later from the burns, reports Courthouse News Service.

Chicago Police Sued for Violating '48-Hour' Rule; $1M Award Reduced

A $1 million verdict for a deceased man's unlawful detention by Chicago police has been reduced to $250,000, Courthouse News Service reports.

The case dates back to 2008, when Donald Wells caused a fatal crash. Wells was first taken to a hospital, but a few hours later, police threw Wells behind bars. He was left there for two days without medical care.

When police decided to release Wells, they found him in medical distress. Wells was taken to a hospital where he died of multiple organ failure.

Wells' widow sued, and a jury awarded her $1.15 million. Why did she win, and why was her award reduced?

Univ. of Chicago Med. Center Sued for Girl's Quadruple Amputation

A patient presents with on-and-off fevers, pain in her right leg, and being unable to put weight on that leg. Hours later, blood work indicates an elevated white blood cell count and other tests indicate swelling in the leg. As her doctor, what do you order?

Yep, it's an unfair question to most of us. Based on extensive research undertaken via "Grey's Anatomy," "E.R.," and "House," an elevated white blood cell count indicates some sort of infection. Yet the hospital didn't administer antibiotics until 24 hours after Ashanti Norals was presented to the emergency room, reports Courthouse News Service.

Because of the untreated sepsis, which was allegedly indicated by the lab results and her vital signs, Norals had all four limbs amputated.

Woman Goes Blind After Botched Surgeries, Sues Everyone

It all started with a small benign cyst in her right eyelid. At some point during the removal procedure, Dr. Donna Johnson allegedly penetrated Evelyn Walton's eye with a needle, reports Courthouse News Service. The end result was blindness in her right eye.

The cause of the penetrating needle is still disputed, though it seems to involve a falling stretcher. Midway through Walton's surgery, part of the stretcher she was on collapsed. Whether the stretcher collapsed because of a defect or mishandling by hospital staff is still in dispute.

'Pink Slime' Maker Accuses ABC, Others of Sliming Them Unfairly

The wave of outrage over the widespread use of pink slime came quick and came hard for Beef Products Inc., the company behind the lean, finely-textured beef nicknamed "pink slime." In a matter of 28 days, the heavy news coverage, spearheaded by ABC News, accused the company of manufacturing and selling a possibly unsafe product and nearly put them out of business, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Mega-corporations like McDonald's and Kroger agreed to stop using the product, and nearly every state (except Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota) opted to stop including "pink slime" in their school lunches.

Planned Parenthood Sued for Tanya Reaves' Death After Abortion

Tonya Reaves, 24, went to Planned Parenthood in the Loop on the morning of July 20 for a dilation and evacuation abortion. By the end of the night, she was dead. The events during the day, though still disputed, are beginning to paint a picture of possible negligence.

Reaves had the initial abortion procedure at 11 a.m., according to WBBM Newsradio. Five and a half hours later, she was rushed to the hospital because of continued bleeding. An ultrasound and second abortion was performed at 5:30 p.m. The bleeding and pain continued. A perforation, or small hole, was found in her uterus. She was taken in for surgery at 10:12 p.m., when an uncontrollable bleed was discovered. She was pronounced dead at 11:20 p.m.

A Quick Glance at Illinois Medical Malpractice Laws

Doctors are human. Though they swear to do no harm, sometimes they make mistakes. While it is true that they cannot save everyone, their mistakes can potentially cross the line into negligence. Perhaps they were attempting a procedure that they weren't qualified to perform. Or perhaps they were just hung over from sweet-tea vodka and lemonade energy drinks (it's not an Arnold Palmer, it's a John Daly on speed).

Whatever the cause, when a doctor's conduct slips below the high standards of the profession, we call that medical malpractice. This field of law focuses on those times when a doctor violates his duty to provide reasonable care to his patient. When such mistakes happen, the patient often ends up severely injured or even dead.

School District Not Liable For Teacher's Sex Acts With Student

There were rumors floating around about Kelly Sweet, an eighth-grade teacher in the St. Francis School District south of Milwaukee. Some thought she had "a crush" on a student. Her colleagues complained that she "blurred the line" with students and treated them like friends, reports Courthouse News Service. However, even the teacher who was her most ardent critic did not suspect illegal activity.

The school district investigated the matter, interviewed Sweet, and found no proof of misconduct. But Sweet eventually pleaded guilty to criminal charges involving kissing, and possibly "petting," one of her students after the victim's mother found inappropriate text messages on his cell phone.

Ben and Cherry's: Porn Satire Backfires, Injunction Issued

We have to give them a shout-out for the creativity. There is a time-honored tradition of porn title parodies, such as the epic "Pirates" knockoff of "Pirates of the Caribbean" and the "Done in 60 Seconds" mock of "Gone in 60 Seconds." (Okay, we just made that last one up, but it's good, right?)

Caballero Video took that concept to a whole new level with its "Ben and Cherry's" series, reports Reuters. The series is, of course, a tribute to Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. "Boston Cream Pie" became "Boston Cream Thighs," "Cherry Garcia" became "Hairy Garcia," and we just became nauseous.

Mr. Ben and Mr. Jerry were not honored by the tribute. Instead, they filed suit to block the sale of the DVDs, arguing trademark infringement.

College Athletes' Lawsuit Sacks NCAA Over Video-Game Rights

Imagine opening a video game, turning it on, playing it, and realizing that you are staring at a digital representation of yourself. Pretty neat, right? Except, you were never paid for the use of your likeness. Someone else was. Your face, body, and even your jersey number are on the screens of kids playing sports video games across the country and you had no say in the matter.

That's the heart of the NCAA "likeness" and antitrust suit, Courthouse News Service reports. A class of former college starts is suing both the NCAA and EA Sports for their alleged use of the athletes' likeness without compensation, and for forcing them to waive their rights to receive payment even after they finish school.