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Chicago Personal Injury News Blog

Paramedics’ alleged mistakes in girl’s death likely to cost taxpayers

BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter fspielman@suntimes.com February 14, 2012 1:02AM Chicago taxpayers will likely spend $1.75 million to compensate the family of a 13-year-old girl who died of bronchial asthma in 2002 after a string of alleged mistakes made by Chicago Fire Department paramedics. Arielle Starks died at Advocate Trinity Hospital after an ambulance carrying her to the hospital collided with a car at 87th and Langley. Another ambulance picked up Arielle and took her to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. At the time, the Chicago Fire Department insisted that Starks was “close to death” when paramedics arrived on the...

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State: Belleville nursing home negligent in 77-year-old resident’s death

BY KEVIN BERSETT - News-Democrat The 77-year-old man who walked away from a Belleville nursing home last month and later died in the cold had wandered off from the facility two times in the weeks and months before his final disappearance, according to an inspection report released Friday by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Despite these previous attempts, Aubrey Giles, who suffered from dementia, kidney failure and heart disease, was not wearing a patient monitoring device Jan. 14 when he left Midwest Rehabilitation and Respiratory Care, 727 N. 17th St., the report states. The report also states that Giles' care plan --...

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Blake Anderson Breaks Back: ‘Workaholics’ Star Injured In Party Prank

In a ridiculous example of life imitating art, Blake Anderson of 'Workaholics' -- the scripted Comedy Central series about a group of hard-partying twenty-somethings juggling office life with an ambitious regimen of drugs and alcohol -- landed himself in the hospital with a broken back when a stunt he tried to pull went horribly wrong. At a party at his Los Angeles home on Saturday, Anderson, presumably trying to dunk a ping-pong ball during a beer-pong game, jumped from his roof and landed on the table, fracturing his spine. Anderson has reportedly undergone successful surgery to treat his injuries. Comedy Central...

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Dave Duerson’s family sues NFL

CHICAGO -- The family of former Chicago Bears player has filed a wrongful death suit against the NFL over his suicide. The suit was filed Thursday in Chicago on behalf of Duerson's children. Duerson died on Feb. 17, 2011, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. The lawsuit accuses the NFL of negligently causing the brain damage that led Duerson to take his own life at the age of 50 by not warning him of the negative effects of concussions. The lawsuit says Boston University experts have determined that Duerson was suffering from advanced brain damage when he died. The NFL said in...

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Nursing home sued over walk-away resident’s death

February 22, 2012 (BELLEVILLE, Ill.) -- The daughters of a 77-year-old man who was found dead last month partly submerged in a creek are suing the southwestern Illinois nursing home from which the man wandered. Terri Dancy and Linda Woods filed the negligence lawsuit Tuesday in St. Clair County against Midwest Rehabilitation and Respiratory Center of Belleville and its management company, Senior Healthcare Management. Authorities say Aubrey Giles suffered from dementia and heart disease and wandered away from the home two other times in the months leading up to his death. Link...

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Study: 15% of surgeons report alcohol use disorder

Nurse.com News Monday February 20, 2012 A relatively small proportion of surgeons who responded to an anonymous survey self-reported alcohol use disorders that are consistent with alcohol abuse or dependence, according to a report. Because alcohol abuse disorders can cause clinically significant impairment and distress in other aspects of life, researchers evaluated the prevalence of alcohol use disorders in surgeons and explored the relationship of these disorders to personal and professional characteristics, surgeon distress and self-reported events, such as malpractice lawsuits and medical errors. Michael R. Oreskovich, MD, of the American College of Surgeons in Chicago and the University of Washington, Seattle, and...

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Returning military members allege job discrimination — by federal government

By Steve Vogel, Published: February 19 Every year, more than a thousand National Guard, reserve and active-duty troops coming back from Iraq, Afghanistan or other military duties complain of being denied jobs or otherwise being penalized by employers because of their military obligations. The biggest offender: the federal government. It is against federal law for employers to penalize service members because of their military service. And yet, in some cases, the U.S. government has withdrawn job offers to service members unable to get released from active duty fast enough; in others, service members have been fired after absences. Returning military members allege job discrimination...

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Chicago man charged in fatal crash on I-290

By Madhu Krishnamurthy A Chicago man who rear-ended a state police squad car early Saturday, killing a 42-year-old West suburban man warming up inside and injuring the state trooper, has been charged with aggravated driving under the influence, a DuPage County state's attorney's office news release said. The driver of the gray 2010 Chevrolet Impala, Daniel C. Clark, 32, was traveling east in the left lane of I-290 and crashed his vehicle into the parked squad car shortly after 1 a.m. east of Mill Road in Addison, authorities said. The state trooper's car was parked with emergency lights flashing behind a disabled vehicle...

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Female Passengers Say They’re Targeted By TSA

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Women passengers complain that TSA agents are targeting them for extra screening. The Transportation Security Administration has a policy to randomly select people for extra screening, but some female passengers are complaining. They believe there is nothing “random” about the way they were picked. A Dallas woman says TSA agents repeatedly asked her to step back into a body scanning machine at DFW International Airport. “I feel like I was totally exposed,” said Ellen Terrell, who is a wife and mother. “They wanted a nice good look.” When Ellen Terrell and her husband, Charlie, flew out of DFW Airport several...

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Cybex Settles Barnhard Product Liability Lawsuit for $19.5 Million

Feb 8, 2012 4:25 PM, By Pamela Kufahl, editor-in-chief Cybex International Inc., Medway, MA, reached a $19.5 million settlement in the Barnhard v. Cybex International Inc. product liability lawsuit, the company announced Monday. “We are financially strong. We were able to withstand this,” Art Hicks, COO of Cybex, tells Club Industry. In December 2010, a jury found Cybex 75 percent liable for a $66 million judgment in a case involving Natalie Barnhard, an employee at Amherst Orthopedic Physical Therapy, Buffalo, NY, who was stretching on a 25-year-old Cybex 4106 ZR Classic leg extension machine when it fell on her, rendering her a quadriplegic....

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Chicago Teachers Allege Discrimination

Chicago teachers allege discrimination: The Chicago Teachers Union has filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Wednesday alleging that layoffs last summer targeted tenured African-American teachers, who represent a third of Chicago Public Schools teachers. Chicago Teachers Allege Discrimination...

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Menards ends discrimination claim for $1 million

Associated Press 4:55 a.m. CST, February 7, 2012 EAU CLAIRE, Wis.— The Menards home improvement chain has agreed to settle a race discrimination case for $1 million. A Chicago arbitrator recently approved the settlement which compensates hundreds of managers and assistant managers who say they were passed over for promotions because of their race. About 700 employees at Menards Midwestern stores can begin filing claims for their share of the settlement Feb. 23. The plaintiffs' attorney Jeffrey Taren tells the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram (http://bit.ly/yGtVYn ) that letters will be sent to employees affected by the settlement. Menards spokesman Jeff Abbott says the company has...

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City Settles Class Action Suit Over 2003 Iraq War Protest Arrests

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="611" caption="An Iraq War protest from 2008. (Image Credit: John Sisson)"][/caption] Attorneys for the City of Chicago told federal judges they reached a settlement in the class action lawsuit brought by more than 800 people arrested after protesters took Lake Shore Drive in a 2003 march against the Iraq War. The Chicago Tribune reports those arrested, charged and detained will potentially receive up to $15,000 and people arrested but not charged would receive $8,750. People held on the street for over 90 minutes will receive $500. In total, the lawsuit will cost the city $6.2 million, not including...

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Pepsi to Pay $3.13 Million to Resolve Hiring Discrimination

Pepsi Beverages will be paying over three million dollars to settle a charge of racial discrimination filed by the Minneapolis Area Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The company will also be providing job offers and training as per the agreement. The EEOC initiated an investigation into the criminal background check policy formerly utilized by Pepsi. The investigation found that more than 300 African American applicants had been unfavorably affected by a background check under this policy, which unduly disqualified the applicants from permanent employment at the company. According to the policy, applicants would had been arrested pending...

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Fourth District vacates McLean County asbestos conspiracy verdicts; New hearings on whether Honeywell witness must testify

On the first day of trial in one of the cases, Honeywell lawyer Gary Zimmerman of Chicago told Circuit Judge Paul Lawrence that Charm "has unequivocally stated he will terminate his contract with Honeywell rather than be obligated to travel any significant distance to testify, including being obliged to travel to Illinois to testify." According to court documents, Charm had previously testified at 22 trials in Bloomington. On April 7, three days into the trial, Lawrence directed a verdict for plaintiff Vickie Hoogerwerf. The next day, jurors determined Honeywell owed Vickie Hoogerwerf $2.95 million for the wrongful death of husband John Hoogerwerf, $1.07...

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Mother: Cop, Not Ex-Boyfriend, Deserves Prison Time

The night of the crash, Chicago Heights Police Officer Chris Felicetti pulled LaFond over and arrested her for driving with a suspended license. She blames the officer for handing over her keys to a heavily intoxicated Conner, then 22, after telling the officer she was the designated driver. "That’s when I grabbed my keys and told him again [that] he cannot drive my car, he has been drinking. And that’s when he said, 'Everything is going to be under control,'" she recalled. In legal filings, Chicago Heights has contended LaFond wanted Conner to drive her son home that night. At Conner’s sentencing, Will...

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New Illinois law grants immunity for those reporting a drug overdose

Just before Justin Tokar died of a drug overdose last January in unincorporated Will County, his panicked friend texted people questioning what to do, rather than call 911. A new law signed by Gov. Pat Quinn Monday would allow people like him to call 911 and report an overdose without fear of facing criminal charges for drug possession. “If this (law) would have been in place, it would have been a pretty simple decision,” said Tokar's mother, Karen Hanneman of Naperville, who lobbied in favor of the legislation. “Now people can think, ‘I'm not going to be arrested and I can make...

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Did Hospital Settle Malpractice Case to Spite Its Chief of Surgery?

Hospital conspired to defame surgeon, says lawyer. Published: February 8, 2012 How bad was the rift between hospital officials at the University of Illinois at Chicago and its one-time chief of surgery? So bad that when the hospital heard that both it and colorectal surgeon Herand Abcarian, MD, were about to be sued for malpractice for the death of one of his patients, the hospital settled with the plaintiff's son for $950,000 - without letting Dr. Abcarian know. According to court documents, the university specifically instructed the plaintiff's attorney to individually sue Dr. Abcarian and not serve him. The hospital then reported...

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Doctors who err escape penalties

All Susan Zwaschka wanted was a light chemical peel to smooth and cleanse her face before a family vacation to Chicago. But minutes after Dr. Patrick Carney applied the solution, she winced in pain and pleaded with him to stop. Carney took several breaks but continued even after Zwaschka pushed his arm aside and sat up near tears. Days later, pain from the burns intensified. Open wounds on her swollen face oozed fluid and blood. Devastated by what she saw in the mirror, the 44-year-old attorney, who had often defended physicians in malpractice cases, sued Carney over the 2007 incident and urged...

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Judge’s ruling clears way for workers’ comp medical records release

A Cook County judge on Friday ruled that medical tests involving Menard Correctional Center guards who received disability settlements at taxpayers' expense must be turned over to the public. Circuit Judge Michael B. Hyman heard arguments from the three parties involved -- Central Management Services, the Illinois attorney general's office and the Belleville News-Democrat. As part of a newspaper investigation, the reporters investigated hundreds of workers' compensation cases since Jan. 1, 2008, filed by guards at Menard, who claimed they developed repetitive trauma by turning keys and operating cell locking mechanisms. The taxpayer-funded claims totaled more than $10 million, and many guards...

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Workers accuse Capital Grille of racial discrimination

Reuters 7:35 a.m. CST, January 31, 2012 A restaurant workers group said it will sue Darden Restaurants Inc. in federal court in Chicago on Tuesday, accusing the company's high-end Capital Grille steakhouse chain of racial discrimination and violations of state and federal labor laws. The action will pit Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, a vocal advocate on industry wages and working conditions, against one of the largest and most respected U.S. restaurant companies. The lawsuit will charge that white workers have lucrative "front-of-house" positions such as waiter or bartender, while many lower paying "back-of-the-house" jobs like washing dishes or preparing food are given to...

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The Obama Memos: The Verdict on Malpractice

Posted by Ryan Lizza Today, I’m posting a memo to the President that includes Barack Obama’s handwritten decision at the end of the document. The memo—one of several I obtained for a piece in this week’s New Yorker—was sent to Obama on July 1, 2009, and came back from the Oval Office the following day. The title of the memo is “Information on Medical Malpractice Reform Options,” and it was sent to Obama by two of his aides: Nancy-Ann DeParle, who was at the time running the White House Office of Health Reform and is now one of Obama’s deputy chiefs of...

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Man plunges from Loop office building

A 78-year-old attorney apparently leaped to his death this morning from his office building across the street from City Hall in the Loop, authorities said. The man, whose name was not immediately available, was dead on the scene this morning at 111 W. Washington St., according to a spokesman for the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. A witness heard glass breaking and then saw the man jump out a window about 7:40 a.m., according to police, who said the attorney worked at the Washington Street address. Man plunges from Loop office building...

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Wrongful death lawsuit filed after fatal high-rise fire

Mother says her daughter's life would have been saved if building had sprinklers, proper elevators January 19, 2012 The mother of a woman who was killed in a North Lake Shore Drive high-rise fire this month has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the owners and managers of the building. The lawsuit by JoAnn McCoy maintains that her daughter, Shantel, 32, would still be alive if the building had elevators that shut down during such a fire. Link...

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Community Protests Autistic Teen’s Death

Stephon Watts was shot twice by officers in his Calumet City home on Wednesday An outraged community gathered Thursday evening to protest the death of 15-year-old Stephon Watts, shot dead in his own home by Calumet City police officers a day earlier. About 75 to 100 people, family members and civic and religious leaders, gathered outside the Calumet City Police Department headquarters, at 1200 Pulaski Road in the far south suburb, to protest officers' actions. "The one thing that we look for our police to do is serve and protect," said Alicia Murchison, one of the protesters who said she is also the...

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Taking aim at college sex crimes

New coalition works to get abuses reported By Tabitha Hurley and Ashley Huntington One out of 4 undergraduate women will be sexually assaulted before they graduate, according to a 2010 Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) study. The study also found that 1 in every 6 American women will be sexually assaulted at some point during their lives. Few reports of sex crimes on college campuses show up in media reports, however, and even fewer are prosecuted by the law. Despite the high number of women who are sexually assaulted while in college, studies estimate that 60 percent of rape and sexual...

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Shipwreck Suit Filed In U.S.; Judge May Send It To Italy

In an apparent race to the courthouse, the first U.S. lawsuit has been filed based on the Jan. 13 disaster off the coast of Tuscany. Surprisingly, the named plaintiff is a crewmember, rather than a passenger, who is a resident of Lima, Peru, rather than of the United States. The case also seems oblivious to the substantial legal hurdles that lawyers around the world have been pondering for more than two weeks. The suit, filed Jan. 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by Chicago personal injury lawyers Ribbeck Lawchartered, is a class action by Gary...

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What Claim Do I Have After a Collision? : Wrong Way Driver

Mike BryantAttorney (866) 735-1102 Ext 555Posted by Mike BryantJanuary 26, 2012 This month, we will be looking at the issue of what claims are available in a Minnesota collision. We have used real examples from stories in the recent news as a basis for the discussion. What claims are available is not always obvious and a very good reason why you should take advantage of meeting with an experienced personal injury lawyer to understand all of your coverages. The insurance company may seem to be treating you correctly, but they don't represent you. They also are not lawyers, so don't take...

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Dante Autullo Shoots 3.5 Inch Nail Into His Head: Illinois Man Didn’t Notice Injury

A suburban Chicago man is recovering at a local hospital after accidentally shooting himself with a nail gun - and not noticing the 3 ½ inch nail lodged in his brain for more than 24 hours. Dante Autullo, 32, was working in his garage Tuesday when he fired a nail gun and one of the shots sent the gun near his head, the SouthtownStar reports. He thought he just had a gash from the gun, and didn't realize anything was wrong until the next day. The Associated Press reports that Autullo went to work the next day, but later went to the...

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3 injured in snowmobile crashes

CASSOPOLIS — Weekend snowmobile crashes in Pokagon and Howard townships injured three people. • Cass County Sheriff Joseph M. Underwood Jr. reports that, on Sunday, his office investiaged a personal-injury snowmobile crash that occurred on the snowmobile trails near the intersection of Frost Street and Sink Road in Pokagon Township. Huntertown residents Justin Reed, 41, and Brian Widenhoefer, 36, were eastbound when operator Reed failed to see and negotiate the upcoming downhill embankment, causing the snowmobile to vault, ejecting both occupants from the machine. They were transported to Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac for treatment. Helmets were used. Alcohol is not a...

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