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Chicago Personal Injury News Blog

Chicago lawyer faces sanctions for suit against Malaysia Airlines

By Steve Schmadeke A Chicago aviation lawyer who made international news when she filed the first court action shortly after a Malaysia Airlines jet vanished earlier this year now faces sanctions from Illinois’ attorney disciplinary agency for filing the allegedly frivolous case. Monica Kelly held a heavily publicized news conference in Kuala Lumpur in March to announce she’d filed a petition alleging that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 had experienced a catastrophic mechanical failure before plunging into the southern Indian Ocean, killing all 239 passengers and crew on board. A complaint made public Tuesday by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission alleged that...

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Chicago cop wins $540K suit against sergeant accused of taunting him

Retired Chicago Police Sgt. Lawrence C. Knasiak was twice commended by the city council for his “dedication, professionalism and personal sacrifice” during a nearly 30-year career with the department. Apparently that sense of civic duty didn’t extend to cops he supervised, including a Jewish officer Knasiak allegedly called a “bloodsucking parasite,” the Sun-Times is reporting. On Monday, a federal jury awarded $540,000 to that officer, who was supervised by Knasiak in a Southwest Side police district from 2000 to 2007. Chicago cop wins $540K suit against sergeant accused of taunting him...

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CHP Officer Hit Woman in Now-Viral Video With “All the Strength He Had”: Lawsuit

The woman seen on a now-viral video being repeatedly punched by a California Highway Patrol officer said her dress was violently ripped to expose her bare buttocks as she told the officer “I didn’t do anything to you,” according to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed last week and amended Friday. Marlene Pinnock, 51, said in the lawsuit that she had dealt with the officer in the past, and that he called her by name as she walked in the area of the 10 Freeway west of downtown Los Angeles July 1. When she began to leave the area the lawsuit...

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Feds Failing To Act On Antibiotic Resistance Despite Grave Threat, Health Advocates Warn

Public health advocates are fuming over a new court ruling that they say could hasten the coming of the next pandemic. In a 2-1 decision released Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration need not consider banning the use of antibiotics in healthy food-producing animals. "We believe that this decision allows dangerous practices known to threaten human health to continue," said Avinash Kar, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Adding antibiotics to farm animals' feed, day after day, is not what we should be doing. It's not what the...

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Man injured during team-building drill: lawsuit

By Christy Gutowski Tribune reporter 6:40 p.m. CDT, July 24, 2014 It was supposed to be a workplace exercise to build mutual respect, understanding and empathy between co-workers of an Addison fire safety company. Instead, according to a DuPage County lawsuit, one employee experienced “pain and suffering in body and mind” when he fell to the floor after being “propelled” into the air during what was supposed to be a team-building event. Antonio Gonzalez filed the suit earlier this month against Guardian Quest, an Aurora business management consulting firm that held the “diversity inclusion” training workshop two summers ago in an Oakbrook Terrace...

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Ohio State band director fired after report finds sexualized culture

Michael Muskal Los Angeles Times 1:35 p.m. CDT, July 25, 2014 In the second recent scandal to cloud a nationally acclaimed marching band, the director of the Ohio State University band has been dismissed after investigators found a sexualized culture of rituals in the group that bills itself as the “Best Damn Band in the Land.” Band director Jonathan Waters was fired by the school after an investigation prompted by a parental complaint found the band’s “culture facilitated acts of sexual harassment, creating a hostile environment for students.” The lawyer representing Waters said the band leader will fight to clear his name. According...

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Lawsuit: Inflatable sumo wrestling led to brain injury at Miami-Dade charter school

By David Ovalle dovalle@MiamiHerald.com During a Hialeah Gardens school “Spirit Day,” a teen girl dressed in an inflatable sumo wrestler suit for what was supposed to be a goofy match with a classmate. But a lawsuit claims the sumo fun went horribly wrong, leaving the teen with severe brain damage after her head repeatedly struck the floor. The girl, 15-year-old freshman Celaida Lissabet, and her mother late last week sued charter school Mater Academy and Mega Party Events, the company that supplied the inflatable suits, which the lawsuit contends are designed for use in “violent recreational sumo wrestling games.” Adrian De La Rosa, owner of...

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UConn Settles Sexual Assault Lawsuit For $1.3 Million, But Won’t Admit Guilt

Tyler Kingkade The University of Connecticut will pay nearly $1.3 million to settle a lawsuit brought forward by five sexual assault victims, the school and the women's attorney announced Friday, but it will not admit to wrongdoing in the cases. The lawsuit, filed against UConn on Nov. 1 by high-profile attorney Gloria Allred and co-counsel Nina Pirrotti, came days after four of the women filed two federal complaints to the Department of Education. UConn was accused of mishandling rape cases and refusing to condemn or intervene on reported harassment of female students, in violation of the gender equity law Title IX. UConn is...

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City paid out $30K to settle 2012 lawsuit against chokehold cop Daniel Pantaleo

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- One of the two civil rights lawsuits against Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who put Eric Garner in a chokehold Thursday, ended up costing taxpayers $30,000 in settlement money, according to the plaintiffs' attorney. The suit, which was settled in January, accuses Pantaleo and another officer of strip-searching two men on a New Brighton street, pulling down their pants and underwear in broad daylight, in March 2012. It alleges that Pantaleo and several other officers -- Joseph Torres, Ignazio Conca, and Steven Lopez -- "unlawfully stopped" a vehicle on Jersey Street in New Brighton. Another officer, Christian Cataldo,...

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Family of Drowned Brothers Plans $60 Million Lawsuit

A law firm representing the family of two Gary boys who drowned in an excavation pit in Hobart last month plans to file a $60 million lawsuit. Terrion Smith, 8, and Donel Smith, 9, fell into the pond at 4040 Missouri St. on June 14. According to the NWI Times, Chicago law firm Kelley Witherspoon LLP is representing the family in the planned lawsuit against property owner Randy Goldschmidt and Goldschmidt Construction Services. Family of Drowned Brothers Plans $60 Million Lawsuit...

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Suburban school district seeks dismissal of bullying lawsuit

By Stephanie K. Baer Tribune reporter 3:31 p.m. CDT, July 10, 2014 St. Charles Community Unit School District 303 recently filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a former student who alleges the district did nothing to stop fellow drill team members from repeatedly bullying her. The suit, filed with the Kane County Circuit Court in April, claims that district staff "knew or should have known" that she was verbally and physically bullied, harassed and hazed by fellow drill team members after being diagnosed with ADHD in summer 2010. At one point in January 2011, another teammate "slapped Plaintiff in the face,"...

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Newspapers Move to Unseal Chicago’s Opioid Lawsuit

The Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and USA Today have moved to intervene in the lawsuit the city of Chicago is prosecuting against pharmaceutical companies over the epidemic of opioid painkiller abuse. The three newspapers want to intervene to unseal redacted portions of the city's complaint and to access documents the City of Chicago Law Department obtained from the defendants and from third-party American Pain Foundation prior to filing its lawsuit, according to a filing by Jeffrey I. Cummings, of Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C., in Chicago. The city said it was redacting all references in its complaint to information the...

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Homeless Man’s Lawsuit: Joliet Cops Drove Him To Small Town, Dumped Him During Winter Freeze

Mike Parker (CBS) – Brian Davidson is a homeless man who panhandles on the streets of Joliet. Because of that, he says police have harassed, ticketed him and intimidated him time after time. He recalls one night in December when he had a run-in with two police officers downtown. “Next thing I know, they’re handcuffing me,they throw me in the back of the car and said they’re taking me for a ride,” Davidson tells CBS 2’s Mike Parker. Homeless Man’s Lawsuit: Joliet Cops Drove Him To Small Town, Dumped Him During Winter Freeze...

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Florida jury awards $23 billion punitive damages against RJ Reynolds

By Barbara Liston ORLANDO Fla. Sat Jul 19, 2014 6:32pm EDT (Reuters) - A Florida jury has awarded the widow of a chain smoker who died of lung cancer punitive damages of more than $23 billion in her lawsuit against the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the nation's second-biggest cigarette maker. The judgment, returned on Friday night, was the largest in Florida history in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by a single plaintiff, according to Ryan Julison, a spokesman for the woman's lawyer, Chris Chestnut. Cynthia Robinson of Florida Panhandle city of Pensacola sued the cigarette maker in 2008 over the death of her...

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When the Boss Says, ‘Don’t Tell Your Coworkers How Much You Get Paid’

Under the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (NLRA), all workers have the right to engage “concerted activity for mutual aid or protection” and “organize a union to negotiate with [their] employer concerning [their] wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.” In six states, including my home state of Illinois, the law even more explicitly protects the rights of workers to discuss their pay. This is true whether the employers make their threats verbally or on paper and whether the consequences are firing or merely some sort of cold shoulder from management. My managers at the coffee shop seemed to...

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Study: Sexual harassment is a real problem in science

Updated by Susannah Locke on July 16, 2014, 2:40 p.m. ET Sexual harassment and assault are problems that no one should have to deal with in the workplace. And according to one new study, even science isn't immune to such problems. "The study is the most in-depth look yet at sexual harassment in science" The paper, published in PLOS ONE, surveyed more than 600 anthropologists, archaeologists, biologists, zoologists, and other scientists about their experiences while doing fieldwork away from the university. And the picture was disturbing — there were many experiences of sexual harassment and assault, as well as little awareness of how to...

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Former Twitter employee alleges age discrimination in lawsuit

By Riley Snyder A former Twitter employee is suing the company, alleging that the social media giant fired him for being too old. The lawsuit was filed by former Twitter employee Peter Taylor, who alleged he was fired last year with no warning and a month after the then-57-year-old underwent surgery to remove kidney stones. The suit says Taylor saved Twitter millions of dollars during its data center expansion and met all performance review standards before he was fired and replaced by workers in their 20s and 30s. Taylor, who worked as Twitter’s manager of data center deployment, said in the suit that his...

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Whitman County assessor faces sexual harassment lawsuit

Kip Hill The Spokesman-Review Whitman County’s longtime assessor is in federal court in Spokane this week, fighting a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by an employee. Joe Reynolds, who has served as assessor in Whitman County since 1991, described his office as “loose” and that employees “talked nasty at times,” according to court filings. Yet Brenda Arthur, who started working for the office in 2000, says Reynolds crossed the line, touching her inappropriately and making several sexually explicit remarks during the past several years. The alleged harassment prompted Arthur to request time off and to seek medical help for physical and emotional distress. Whitman...

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Cleveland settles federal lawsuit with families of police chase victims Timothy Russell, Malissa Williams

By John Caniglia, The Plain Dealer on July 16, 2014 at 2:00 PM CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland has settled a federal lawsuit for an undisclosed amount of money with the families of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, who were killed after a 2012 car chase in which police officers fired 137 shots at Russell's car, a judge said Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster said in documents that the settlement is dependent upon a judge's approval in Cuyahoga County Probate Court, where the estates were set up to oversee any awards from the lawsuit. A probate judge would decide whether the...

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Naperville student sued for striking pedestrians in driver’s ed class

By Christy Gutowski Tribune reporter 2:02 p.m. CDT, July 15, 2014 A Naperville teen who struck two pedestrians during a driver’s education class last year has been named in a recent lawsuit. The student is accused in a DuPage County lawsuit of striking a teen and her friend last July 12, 2013 in Naperville. The suit also names the father of the motorist, since she is a minor, and Indian Prairie School District 204, which owns the vehicle involved in the accident. According to the police report, the 15-year-old Waubonsie Valley High School student had just made a right turn when she “somehow...

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Kansas City woman files lawsuit against Monster Energy Drink after husband’s death

Amy Hawley A Kansas City woman launches the latest lawsuit against Monster Energy Drink. Heather Felts said her husband, Shane, died after consuming about one energy drink a day for two weeks. The drink's manufacturer, she said, touts the energy drink as a dietary supplement when there are few to no documented health benefits. Felts said her husband consumed Monster Energy Drinks for just two weeks. Kansas City woman files lawsuit against Monster Energy Drink after husband's death...

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Lawsuit over 1996 car crash leads to $18 million award

By The Associated Press on July 13, 2014 READING, Pa. (AP) — An insurance company that was tongue-lashed in a decision last month by a Pennsylvania judge is contesting his ruling that it pay $18 million in punitive damages after a long court battle over faulty repairs to a family's vehicle in 1996. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. on Friday asked Berks County Judge Jeffrey K. Sprecher to reconsider a decision believed to be the largest punitive award ever handed down in Pennsylvania in a lawsuit accusing an insurer of bad faith, the Philadelphia Inquirer (http://bit.ly/1nkxYqP ) reported Sunday. Sprecher ruled in June that...

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Mom sues third-grader and parents for alleged bullying

A suburban mother has filed a lawsuit claiming an elementary-school student bullied and beat up her son, a third-grader at the same Mount Prospect school. In the lawsuit, which also identifies the boy as a plaintiff, Deveri Del Core, claims there was "continuous" bullying of her son throughout the 2013-14 school year. The lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court Tuesday said the boy was hit, punched, choked, elbowed, kicked, pushed, tripped and spat on on a weekly basis by another student. Both were third-grade students at Robert Frost Elementary School in Mount Prospect, although the two boys were in different classes. The...

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Father Trapped in County Jail Considers Lawsuit

Man seeks surveillance footage and witness statements from jail A man who was trapped in a room for more than 30 hours while trying to visit his son at Cook County Jail over the weekend is seeking surveillance footage and witness statements ahead of a potential lawsuit against the county. Farad Polk visited the jail early Saturday evening to see his son, who shares the same name, according to the petition for discovery filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court. His son had been transferred from the Division 11 holding area at 3015 S. Calfornia Blvd. to Division 9 -- an area he’d...

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Ohio brothers get $235,000 in patrol crash lawsuit

The Associated Press 2:01 a.m. EDT July 10, 2014 COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The State Highway Patrol has reached a $235,000 settlement in a lawsuit by two southwest Ohio brothers who alleged their vehicle was hit by a patrol car traveling over 95 mph while not using overhead lights or sirens. The Ohio Court of Claims approved the settlement for the brothers Tuesday. Ohio brothers get $235,000 in patrol crash lawsuit...

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St. Paul to settle police officer’s sexual harassment lawsuit for $60,000

By Emily Gurnon The city of St. Paul will pay a former police officer $60,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit she filed last year. Sgt. Aine M. Bebeau claimed that her juvenile unit supervisor, Cmdr. Eugene Polyak, made "inappropriate sexual statements to her" at work and that department brass retaliated against her when she reported it. She also claimed she was subjected to a hostile work environment and discrimination as a Native American woman. Between September and November 2010, Polyak complained to Bebeau about his marital problems, told her he became aroused when thinking about her, reported on "erotic dreams" she inspired and...

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Ex-employee settles lawsuit with Milk Shake Factory

By Brian Bowling Friday, July 11, 2014, 11:36 a.m. A former general manager of The Milk Shake Factory on Carson Street has settled her lawsuit claiming she was fired for refusing to discriminate against male and minority job applicants. Denise Beloncis, 44, of Crafton Heights said in the lawsuit that her supervisor at Edward Marc Chocolatier told her to hire the “all-American girl,” which in this case meant a blonde, blue-eyed college graduate, preferably from Duquesne University. The company fired her after three months on the job because she was hiring people who didn't fit the criteria, the lawsuit said. The Trafford-based company...

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City of Charlotte settles lawsuit over police shooting for $115,000

By Michael Gordon For the second time this year, the city of Charlotte has settled a lawsuit arising from a police shooting – this one involving a 15-year-old who was wounded in 2010 as he came to the aid of his injured mother. The city will pay $115,000 to Jeffery Green. He was shot in October 2010 by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Matthew Wilson, who was responding to the stabbing of Green’s mother, Valinda Streater. Wilson remains on the force. Green, who recovered from his injuries, is enrolled as a nursing student at Central Piedmont Community College. City of Charlotte settles lawsuit over police shooting...

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Lafayette officer facing federal lawsuit after wheelchair incident

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – A Lafayette man has filed a federal lawsuit after a police officer pushed him over in a wheelchair. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern Indiana on behalf of 25-year-old Nicholas Kincade on Thursday. Kincade was in a motorized wheelchair after being in an accident. The lawsuit said in October of 2013, Lafayette Police Department officer Tom Davidson was called to investigate Kincade. He said Davidson searched his backpack without a warrant. Lafayette officer facing federal lawsuit after wheelchair incident...

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