Significant Verdicts & Settlements

ESTATE OF FRANCISCO MORENO GARCIA V. ARCHER DANIELS MIDLAND

Case No. 07 L 142 – Macon County, Illinois.
$6,741,731

On June 28, 2011, the Illinois Appellate Court for the Fourth District unanimously affirmed our record-setting $6.7 million-plus verdict in Laura Diaz, Independent Administrator of the Estate of Francisco Garcia, deceased v. Archer Daniels Midland Company (Macon County 07 L 142).

The case (tried in Decatur, Illinois in September 2009) involved a single, 26-year-old contract laborer working at ADM plant who received third-degree burns over ninety-percent of his body when pressure valves failed on a recompressor machine and sprayed him with hot liquid. He died the next day, leaving parents and five siblings in Mexico.

The gist of ADM’s appeal was the trial court’s exclusion of all evidence concerning the decedent’s immigration status. The Appellate Court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion and that the proffered evidence was speculative, had limited relevance, and was highly prejudicial. The Court also rejected every other claim of error by ADM, including their argument that the verdict was excessive. The jury verdict was $6,741,731.61. Justice has once more prevailed.

ESTATE OF CURTIS COOPER v. CHA and URBAN PROPERTY ADVISORS

Case No. 08 L 007181 – Circuit Court of Cook County Illinois.
$2,000,000

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.

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
$24,775,000.00:

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
$9,600,000.00:

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
$24,700,000.00:

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
$6,600,000.00:

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
$4,750,000.00:

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
$5,000,000.00:

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
$4,006,273.00:

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
$3,500,000.00:

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
$3,990,000.00:

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
$2,300,000.00:

Barrett, the starting 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
$1,500,000.00:

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
$2,500,000.00:

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
$1,500,000.00:

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
$1,126,808.70:

Forty-two-year-old Mark Dow, a professional choreographer, 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
$1,387,400.00:

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
$1,000,000.00:

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.

JARZEBKWOSKI V. KUBILIUS

Case No. 09L6772
$420,000
Please click here for a full description of this case, which was profiled nationally in the Professional Negligence Law Reporter in December 2013.

ESTATE OF EVELYN GARDNER v. DR. RAYMOND KAZMAR

Case No. 11 L 004784 – Circuit Court of Cook County Illinois.
$750,000

75 year old Evelyn Gardner was diagnosed with terminal metastatic breast cancer and died within 5 months. Her primary care physician, Dr. Raymond Kazmar, had not ordered a mammogram in 10 years. He claimed that he was acting only as the patient’s rheumatologist. The lawsuit was settled for $750,000.

MARY BAKER v. DR. SHYMAL BOSE

Case No. 13 L 583 – Circuit Court of Cook County Illinois.
$750,000

57 year old Mary Baker presented to Dr. Shymal Bose, a gastroenterologist, for a colonoscopy due to blood in her stool and unexplained weight loss. Dr. Bose interpreted the results as normal but 6 months later the patient had a colonoscopy with a different doctor who found a large cecal mass and she was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer. Studies showed the cancer had already metastasized when Dr. Bose misread the colonoscopy. The lawsuit was settled for $750,000.

JOSCELYN JOHNSON v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Case No. 10 CV 8251 – United States Dist. Court, Northern District of Illinois
$1,500,000

Joscelyn Johnson was 38 weeks pregnant when her doctor, Dr. Emanuel Javate scheduled her to be admitted to St. James Hospital in Chicago Heights early to induce her due to pregnancy induced hypertension and an expected large for gestational age baby. Joscelyn suffered a rare complication known as a uterine rupture, a condition where the uterus tears causing a disruption of the blood flow and thus the oxygen flow to the fetus. Although the nurses and the doctor were supposed to be monitoring her they shrugged off the warning signs and tragically assumed that all was well when it wasn’t. Because Dr. Javate was employed by a federally qualified clinic, the case had to be filed in federal court and there was no right to a jury. The US government (which represented Dr. Javate), refused to even discuss settlement so the case proceeded to trial and was tried by Don and Matt in January, 2014.  The Honorable Thomas Durkin issued his decision on September 5, 2014 ruling in favor of the plaintiff and assessed the damages at $1,500,000. In his 58 page written decision he found for the plaintiff on virtually every aspect of the case.

Estate of Paula Chibe v. Ingalls Memorial Hospital, et al.

Case No. 2013 L 001037 – Circuit Court of Cook County Illinois.
$2,500,000

Paula Chibe, aged 35, was admitted to Ingalls Memorial Hospital on March 14, 2011 for back pain and was evaluated by neurosurgeon Martin Luken MD, who determined she needed emergency L5 and S1 laminectomies which were accomplished on March 16, 2011. THe patient was cleared for surgey by Dr. Asma Manzar, a hospitalist. Anestehsiologist Jeffrey Yeh, concluded the patient had probable obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), based on physical exam and he altered his anesthetic approach by doing an awake intubation and avoiding narcotics, due to the increased risk of respiratory depression posed by OSA. Dr. Manzar did not note probable OSA in her evaluation. Postoperatively, Dr. Luken wrote an order for 3 to 4 mg of subcutaneous Dilaudid, and Nurse Montes administered 3mg of Dilaudid around 3:20 am on 3/17/11. Nurse Montes checked on the patient an hour later and accepted a nonverbal response as to the effect of the medication from the patient, in violation of Ingalls policy which prohibitted reliance on nonvernbal responses. The patient was found unresponsive an hour thereafter and a code blue was unsuccessful and the patient died. Plaintiff contended the Dilaudid was excessive, and that the defendants failed to appreciate the risks that probable OSA with Dilaudid would lead to respiratory depression. Plaintiiff argued all providers had a duty to ensure the patient was hooked up to a pulse oximeter to guard against respiratory depression. Plaintiff also argued that Dr. Manzar and Dr. Yeh had a duty to warn the neurosurgeon Dr. Luken about the respiratory depressive effects of Dilaudid in light of the patient’s probable OSA and to advise him to order a pulse oximeter. After deliberating for more than 3 hours, the jury returned a verdict for $2,500,000 in favor of Paula’s five children on May 26, 2016.
Please click here for a full description of this case, which was profiled on the front page of the Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter on July 29, 2016.

Confidential v. 2 undisclosed Illinois Physicians, et al.

Circuit Court, State of Illinois. Settled June 3, 2016
$4,000,000

This was a medical malpractice wrongful death and survival case involving a misconstruction of a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure. The two surgeons connected the intestinal limb coming from the main stomach (the proximal portion) back up to the gastric pouch, instead of down to the distal intestine. They also connected the lower portion of the transected intestine back onto itself, instead of to the newly created stomach pouch. Thus, they created two separate circular systems without communication with each other, or what in effect was a Roux-en-O connection rather than the intended Roux-en-Y connection. Therefore, there was no way for digestive fluids produced by the stomach, pancreas and liver to get to the intestines. Instead, their only outlet for elimination was back through the mouth via vomiting. As a direct result of the misconstruction, the 26- year-old female patient became gravely ill, sustained irreversible lung injury, became comatose, and died four weeks after the surgery, leaving two parents and three adult siblings. This misconstruction is very rare, with only four similar cases ever reported in the world’s medical literature.

Estate of N.T., a disabled minor v. MetroSouth Medical Center, et al.

14 L 003523, Circuit Court of Cook COunty, State of Illinois. Settled May 2, 2016
$2,650,000
This is an obstetrical medical malpractice case against a nurse, two physicians and a hospital involving failures during labor and delivery to properly monitor fetal heart monitor strips and to perform a prompt Caesarean section in the face of persistent and severe fetal distress. As a direct result of these failures, baby girl N.T. sustained prolonged fetal hypoxia and she was born with profound brain damage from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Defendants were insured with a policy limit of only $3,000,000, including the costs of defense, making this $2,650,000 settlement essentially a policy limits settlement.

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