Summaries of recent legal matters in and around Chicago
PLAINTIFF RECOVERS IN WRONGFUL CONVICTION CASE AFTER 21 YEARS IN PRISON
Deon Patrick v. City of Chicago, et al
Cook County Case No. 14 C 3658
In 2013, the 45-year-old male Plaintiff was released from prison and thereafter received a certificate of innocence.
He had served 21 years in prison after his conviction for first degree murder, home invasion and armed robbery regarding the shooting deaths of two people in 1992. His conviction followed his written admission of guilt, which Plaintiff claimed was coerced. Plaintiff was one of the multiple people convicted regarding the deaths. One other convicted person has also since been exonerated.
Plaintiff sued seven police officers and two prosecutors for claims including wrongful conviction, civil rights claims including malicious prosecution and failure to intervene.
Defendants denied all of Plaintiff’s claims, stating that no civil rights violations occurred and contending Plaintiff was guilty of the murders and procured his certificate of innocence with false statements.
The jury awarded $13,390,000, consisting of $13,300,000 in compensatory damages and $90,000 in punitive damages against six of the seven police officers. One officer and both prosecutors received not guilty verdicts.
PEDESTRIAN HIT BY CAR RECOVERS NOTHING FROM CITY FOR LACK OF STOP SIGN
Violet Coley v. City of Chicago
Cook County Case No. 14 L 4309
The 63-year-old female Plaintiff was struck by a car as she, in the crosswalk, walked across several lanes of traffic. She sustained a broken leg, incurring $140,000 in medical expenses and $8,351 in lost wages.
The driver settled for $25,000 insurance policy limits and Plaintiff proceeded to trial against the City of Chicago, contending that it was negligent for failing to have installed a stop sign at that location.
The City denied any liability, contending that Plaintiff was contributorily negligent for failing to keep a proper lookout and to look both ways before crossing, and also that the driver was the one at fault for failure to yield to a pedestrian. The City further argued the crosswalk was not owned by the City of Chicago and was under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Transportation, and that the accident actually occurred in an adjacent suburb because of the side of the street where the accident occurred.
Plaintiff sought $798,000 but offered to settle for $175,000. The City offered nothing in settlement and received a complete not guilty verdict at trial
SNEEZING DRIVER NOT LIABLE FOR REAR-END COLLISION
Wladyslaw Kozik v. Mark Nagy
Cook County Case No. 15 L 3708
The 60-year-old male Plaintiff was rear-ended while allegedly slowing down for stopped traffic. He allegedly sustained injuries including a concussion, disc herniation, lumbar and cervical radiculopathy, and lateral epicondylitis, leading to physical therapy and pain injections, resulting in $36,000 in medical costs.
Defendant driver claimed that Plaintiff had come to a complete stop in traffic, and presented the novel defense that Defendant briefly took his eyes off the road as he sneezed, and did not see Plaintiff stopped until Defendant looked back at the road and was unable to stop in time. This defense was successful, as the jury returned a full not guilty verdict.
SEMI DRIVER REAR-ENDS PLAINTIFF BUT IS ONLY LIABLE FOR LIMITED INJURIES
Robert Livingston v. Randell Moore, et al
Cook County Case No. 14 L 1820
The 56-year-old male Plaintiff was stopped at red light when he was rear-ended by Defendant in a semi. Plaintiff’s pickup was pushed into the vehicle in front of him.
Plaintiffs sued the driver and trucking company. In addition to causing damage to both ends of his truck, Plaintiff alleged consequent personal injuries including a fractured vertebra that required surgery, pain injections, and a rhizotomy. He also claimed the accident caused the impact of his knee with the dashboard, which eventually resulted in knee replacement surgery. He sought $298,851 in medical costs.
Defendants admitted negligence but contested the nature and scope of the resultant damages. They admitted causation of the vertebra fracture and attendant care. However, they denied that the subsequent pain management treatment for Plaintiff’s back was related to the accident. Also, noting five previous surgical procedures on Plaintiff’s knee, Defendants denied causation as to the knee replacement surgery.
At trial Plaintiff sought $1,498,551 at trial, while Defendants suggested an award of $61,401 at trial. The jury awarded a total of $171,258., including medical, pain and suffering and loss of normal life.