ESTATE OF CURTIS COOPER v. CHA and URBAN PROPERTY ADVISORS
Case No. 08 L 007181 – Circuit Court of Cook County Illinois.
Curtis was a three-year-old riding his tricycle at the Cabrini-Green housing project when a large metal gate fell and crushed him to death. The CHA and its management company, UPA, were aware that the gates were in poor condition and that children routinely used them as swings but no action was taken. The lawsuit was settled for $2,000,000.00 after an expert metallurgist hired by Donald A. Shapiro, Ltd. examined the gate and found the welds to be defective.
ESTATE OF FRANCISCO MORENO GARCIA V. ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND
Case No. 07 L 142 – Macon County, Illinois.
ADM learned late September 11, 2009 that it must pay $6,741,730.61 to the parents, brothers and sisters of Francisco Moreno Garcia, who was scalded to death in a March 23, 2007 steam explosion at the ADM Bioproducts plant in Decatur, Illinois*. Ironically, this verdict was handed down just days before the September 18, 2009 release of The Informant, a movie documenting ADM’s notorious 1990’s price fixing scandal.
According to attorney Don Shapiro, the principal of Chicago’s Donald A. Shapiro, Ltd., who represented the family, “this was a record wrongful death verdict for Decatur (Macon County), Illinois and one of the largest in Illinois history for a single male with no spouse or children.”
The four day trial concerned fatal injuries suffered by Francisco Moreno Garcia, a 26 year old employee of ECF, Inc., an ADM contractor. Garcia was insulating pipes 15 feet in the air when a waste compression device over pressurized and showered him with steam and hot caustic liquid. When the scissors lift he was on could not be lowered, Garcia was forced to disengage himself from his safety harness and tumbled onto the ground.
Witnesses testified to a gruesome scenario in which Garcia had third degree burns over 90% of his body that were so extensive that strips of his flesh were peeling off as he was pulled into the safety shower. A veteran emergency room nurse testified at the trial that it was one of the worst cases she had ever seen.
Garcia’s family resides in Tizipan El Alto, Mexico, a small town two hours from Guadalajara. “A key to obtaining this large verdict was calling on the jury’s sense of fairness and decency by asking them to treat the Garcia family like any other coming before the court,” says Attorney Shapiro.
SIPHO BUN, INDIVIDUALLY, AND AS GUARDIAN OF THE ESTATE OF NARIN BUN, A DISABLED PERSON V. PROVENA ST. JOSEPH HOSPITAL AND LATOYA DILTZ
Case No. 03 LK 265 – Kane County, Illinois
Narin was a thirty-seven-year-old wife and mother of three children who went to Provena St. Joseph Hospital due to a severe toxic infection. A central venous catheter was placed to facilitate antibiotic therapy but after several weeks the infection had cleared and she no longer needed the antibiotics so the doctor ordered the catheter removed. A nurse carelessly removed the catheter so that air was sucked into the vein causing an air embolism which led to cardio-pulmonary arrest and permanent brain damage. The jury’s award of $24,775,000.00 was the largest personal injury verdict in the history of Kane County–the previous high verdict was $6,000,000.00.
ESTATE OF ROBERT ANTHONY RUSS v. CITY OF CHICAGO AND VAN WATTS, IV
Case No. 99 L 6348 – Chicago, Illinois
Russ was a 22-year-old Northwestern football player traveling late at night from Evanston to his family home in Calumet City when a Chicago police officer attempted to pull him over due to an alleged improper lane change. Russ refused to pull over and a police chase ensued. Officer Watts joined the pursuit, forced Russ into a spin out and then approached the car. Watts screamed at Russ to exit the car and when Russ didn’t move fast enough, Watts took a tire iron and smashed in the rear side window of Russ’ car. Watts then opened the front door and when Russ suddenly turned with his hands to surrender, Watts flinched and pulled the trigger fatally shooting Russ. Watts claimed he never opened the front door and that Russ had reached out the broken rear side window and grabbed the officer’s gun, pulled the officer and his gun inside the car, and that the gun then went off accidentally during the struggle. Our wrongful death lawyers were able to demonstrate the improbability of Watts’ story.
Amongst Plaintiff’s witnesses were Dr. Michael Baden, Chief Forensic Pathologist for the State of New York and host of the HBO show “Autopsy”; Dr. James Fyfe, head of the New York City Police Academy; and a then-college student, now U.S. soldier, eyewitness who directly refuted Watts’ account. The verdict of $12,000,000.00 was reduced by 20 percent for Russ’ comparative fault in refusing to pull over resulting in a judgment for $9,600,000.00. Russ’ son, Robert Anthony Russ, Jr., who was not yet born when his father was killed, is the sole beneficiary of the estate.
DORENE READY v. DR. VICENTE YAP
Case No. 744-155, Milwaukee County Circuit Court
Dorene Ready, the twenty-three-year old wife of Milwaukee Brewer infielder, Randy Ready, went to see Dr. Yap to obtain help in losing weight after her recent pregnancy with twins. Although she only weighed 128 pounds, Dr. Yap prescribed phentermine diet pills that caused her to suffer a cardiac arrhythmia leading to brain damage. The award provides for full time medical care for Dorene as well as compensation for her pain, suffering and disability.
NATAIYA HILL v. DR. CHARLES ALSTON and HOLY CROSS HOSPITAL
Case No. 97 L 03123, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
Although once a cesarean, always a cesarean was once the standard of care, in recent years doctors have been encouraged to try VBAC-vaginal birth after cesarean section. However, VBAC mothers have to be carefully watched. The Defendants didn’t carefully watch Nataiya’s mother and as a result her uterus ruptured and Nataiya suffered a severe brain injury.
JASON HOPKINS v. LOYOLA MEDICAL CENTER
Case No. 91 L 7880, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
Jason was born with a heart defect but his doctors misdiagnosed him and failed to correct this heart defect until it was too late. Jason suffered a severe brain injury.
LASHUN MYLES v. INGALLS MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
Case No. 81 L 26329, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
In this case, a $5,000,000.00 verdict was rendered for a nine-month-old baby who was brought to the emergency room with a high fever and sent home with a diagnosis of a head cold. In fact, she had spinal meningitis and was left severely brain damaged.
ESTATE OF JUAN SALAZAR V. CITY OF CHICAGO AND OFFICER RAFAEL BALBONTIN.
Case No. 03 L 011638 – Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.
In October, 2007, we represented the family of 14-year-old “Johnny” Salazar in a police misconduct case. We alleged that Officer Balbontin had used excessive and unjustified force when he shot Johnny in the back when Johnny was running away. The City claimed Johnny stopped and turned towards the officer putting him in fear for his life but we were able to show, due to the pattern of ejected bullet cartridge casings, that Balbontin opened fire before he claimed Johnny had turned. Three years after the fatal shooting, Balbontin showed his stripes again when he stabbed his wife to death. Although he was convicted of her murder, that fact was kept from the jury and Balbontin testified at trial in a suit and tie. Nevertheless, our wrongful death attorneys won the case and the jury awarded damages to Johnny’s mother and sisters for their loss of society.
ESTATE OF SHARON STONE v. CAPITOL CONSTRUCTION GROUP
Court No. 91 L 11818 – Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
Sharon, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of two children was exhibiting at an arts and crafts fair on north Michigan Avenue when a fifty pound piece of plywood left unsecured by construction workers fell ten stories onto the back of Sharon’s neck and killed her. The defense claimed that the accident was an unforeseeable Act of God but the jury didn’t buy it because we were able to prove that the custom and practice was to secure such materials in order to prevent exactly this type of mishap.
DAVID GOTTSCHAMMER, JR. v. SUBURBAN HEIGHTS MED CENTER
Case No. 89 L 03958 – Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
David Jr.’s mother had preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy), leading to a placental abruption and deprivation of oxygen to the child, who suffered a severe brain injury.
MARTIN BARRETT v. DR. ARTHUR PAPPAS, United States District Court
Western District of Massachusetts
Barrett, a second baseman for the Boston Red Sox, hurt his knee on a routine play. The team doctor, who was a part owner of the Red Sox, told Barrett he tore cartilage and sent him for rehabilitation so he would be able to resume playing in four to six weeks. In fact, Marty had torn his anterior cruciate ligament and needed reconstructive surgery. The delay in surgery ruined Marty’s chance for a successful comeback.
ESTATE OF CARRIE DUNKLIN v. COOK COUNTY HOSPITAL
Case No. 83 L 12869 – Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
Plaintiff, a twenty-seven-year-old missionary, survived by an elderly mother and twelve siblings, jumped off an unguarded fire escape on the sixth floor of Cook County Hospital and died. Carrie had been admitted for a prior suicide attempt caused by high levels of steroid medication prescribed to her for Lupus, yet when she was admitted to Cook County Hospital they kept her on the same high dose of steroids and no suicide precautions were taken.
ESTATE OF WANDA ROSADO v. DR. RAO, et.al.
Case No. 98 L 04314 – Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
Nineteen-year-old Wanda Rosado became very ill after routine surgery to remove her gallbladder. She spent seven weeks in St. Elizabeth Hospital but her doctors never tested for a bile leak. Wanda eventually went to the University of Illinois Hospital, where the doctors immediately suspected and diagnosed a bile leak, but by then it was too late. Wanda died, leaving a two-year-old son behind.
ESTATE OF DONALD STITES v. DR. TERRI DALLAS-PRUNKIS
Case No. 98 L 12867 – Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
Donald Stites became addicted to pain pills given to him by Dr. Dallas and others. In order to get him off the pain pills, Dr. Dallas prescribed methadone, but she prescribed a lethal dose. Donald was found dead two days later.
MARK DOW v. INTERPARK, INC.
Case No. 03 L 003749 – Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
Forty-two-year-old Mark Dow exited his car in the parking garage of a downtown high-rise condominium building when his feet suddenly slipped out from under him due to a patch of oil on the garage floor surface. Both of the bones in his lower leg were broken and required surgical repair. When our personal injury attorneys looked at the scene, we thought that the incline of the parking garage where Mr. Dow fell seemed unusually steep, so we hired an architect to examine the premises. He determined that the slope was almost twice the maximum allowed by the City of Chicago building code.
The combination of the steep slope and the oil on the garage floor gave us the basis for establishing liability against the parking garage. As to damages, Mark was a professional choreographer who was never able to dance after the injury. He was still on crutches at the time of trial due to recent surgery to remove the surgical hardware from his leg. We obtained for Mr. Dow one of the highest verdicts ever reported in Cook County for a slip and fall case with a broken leg.
LYNN PIKRONE v. LESLIE McCLELLAN, M.D.
Case No. 03 L 829 – Lake County
After years of chronic obesity, Lynn Pikrone decided to have gastric bypass surgery. Dr. McClellan, a bariatric surgeon, did the surgery but afterwards Lynn suffered from intractable vomiting. Dr. McClellan operated on her three more times but the vomiting persisted. A fourth operation at Rush North Shore was also unsuccessful. By the time Lynn went to the University of Chicago, she was in the end stages of malnutrition. The doctors at the University of Chicago discovered that the bypass had been hooked up backwards and, accordingly, they reversed the bypass hook-up, saved Lynn’s life and allowed her to live a normal life. The jury’s verdict was $1,387,400.00.
JANE DOE V. DR.GABRIELLE BOSLEY
Case No. 06L226694
The complaint alleged that the defendant, a radiologist, negligently interpreted a mammogram as normal when, in fact, it was abnormal and should have led to a diagnosis of breast cancer. Approximately eight months later, the Plaintiff noticed a lump in her breast and subsequent follow-up led to the correct diagnosis but the delay caused the staging of the cancer to be worse and the patient required a mastectomy rather than a lumpectomy. The case was settled for the defendant’s policy limits.