The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

December 2012 Archives

Toyota Settles Most Unintended Acceleration Suits for $1.1 Billion

And so ends perhaps the most embarrassing chapter in Toyota’s history. The Japanese automaker, which made its mark worldwide on its reputation for safety and reliability, has agreed to settle claims arising out of an unintended acceleration problem that affected about 16 million Toyota, Lexus, and Scion branded vehicles, reports Reuters.

Though the $1.1 billion settlement covers repairs and economic losses resulting from the accelerator issue, the company will not admit fault as part of the deal. This likely has something to do with still-pending litigation over deaths and injuries resulting from the acceleration problem. The wrongful death and injury claims were not included in the settlement, though many have already been handled.

Brother of Murder Victim Files Lawsuit Against Online Gun Classifieds Site

Last year, Jitka Vesel was tragically murdered by a stalker in Chicago. Vesel met her murderer, Demetry Smirnov, online - three years before she was murdered. The two dated for mere weeks before she broke it off. Two-and-a-half years later, he showed up to her workplace and murdered her in cold blood, reports the Daily Beast.

Smirinov used a .40 caliber handgun which purchased from a private seller, also found online, via Armslist, a firearms classified site.  Much like Craigslist, Armslist is a completely neutral online marketplace. All ads, transactions, and purchases are done through the users. The website even has a disclaimer that must be agreed to before entering that requires all users to comply with the law when dealing between themselves.

Premises Liability and Your Duty to a Trespassing Santa

The fat man wants his cookies. Melty chocolate chip, snicker doodle, or peanut butter, it doesn't matter. Those cookies will be his. He'll slide down the chimney. He'll crawl in the window. He might even pick the lock on the front door, if it's necessary.

Of course, blinded by his sugary substance abuse and addiction to gift giving, he's bound to be in a rush. Eventually, he'll run into a lit chimney, or a hungry Rottweiler, or if Macaulay Culkin is around, a booby-trapped nightmare.

Chicago on the Hook for More Than $6 Million for Employee's DUI

The City of Chicago is set to approve or deny a $6.25 million settlement with one of Dwight Washington’s victims today, reports ABC Chicago. If approved, it would be the first, and quite possibly, the largest of multiple settlements arising from a single drunken driving incident that occurred back in 2011.

The victim in this case, Richard Chang, was pinned under the city-owned Ford F-150 and suffered brain damage. He had to relearn how to walk and talk. Because of residual damage, he is unable to continue his previous career as a computer scientist. According to the Sun-Times, lawsuits are still pending for three other victims, including a 26-year-old nanny that pushed the 20-month-old girl that she was watching out of the way before becoming seriously injured herself.

What's the Ho-Ho-Holdup? A Primer on Airline Passengers' Rights

Getting home for the holidays has always been a bit of a pain; so much so that it spawned multiple Christmas songs and terrible movies. For many real and imagined nightmares before Christmas, the role of the Grinch is played by the airline industry, who in the past, have created holiday havoc by cancelling and overbooking flights.

Fear not, however. Thanks to the recently amended Passengers’ Bill of Rights, there is now a great financial disincentive for creating preventable holiday holdups. Examples of those who have incurred the Department of Transportation’s wrath include American Eagle, fined $900,000 last year for keeping passengers stranded on the ground, awaiting takeoff, for more three hours, and JetBlue, who coughed up $90,000 in August for not reminding passengers of their right to deplane a delayed flight.

Nursing Home Resident's Family Sues After Maggots Found in Her Ear

Ninety-two year old Catherine McCann suffers from severe Alzheimer’s. Because she is unable to speak or care for herself, her family spends $10,000 per month for skilled nursing care. The provider of that care, Lutheran Home for the Aged in Arlington Heights, Illinois, was supposed to be providing round-the-clock care, including putting medicated drops in her ear for a recently developed wax buildup.

Instead, after McCann began pulling at her ear, one of her caretakers noticed something truly disturbing: maggots crawling in her ear, reports CBS Chicago. Her family met her at the hospital and watched as doctors pulled fifty-seven maggots out of her ear canal. An expert analyzed the maggots and determined that they had been present for two to three days.

First Lawsuit Emerges from Boy Scouts' 'Perversion Files'

In 1961, Thomas Hacker, then in his mid-20s, was arrested on an assault and battery charge for conduct involving Boy Scouts at a campout. Though the case was dismissed, and Hacker was initially set for removal from his position as a scoutmaster, a plea from a prominent board member saved his position. Two troops and nine years later, he was arrested for molesting 51 boys, most of them students at his school, reports the Ventura County Star.

Hacker was barred from the Boy Scouts. One year later, he used a fake name to become a scoutmaster in the Chicago suburbs. He was arrested for taking indecent liberties with a child. He was again barred. By the mid-1980s, he was again a scoutmaster in the Chicago area. He resigned in 1987, months before he was indicted for molesting several more boys.

The plaintiff, then ten-years-old, was one of his mid-1980s victims.