Parrillo Weiss partner Robert Kuehl was hired to take over representation of Defendant Limo company and driver just before trial. On a snowy New Year’s Eve, a vehicle being operated by Co-Defendant White struck the Limousine with all five Plaintiffs as passengers, causing permanent injuries ranging from fractured vertebrae and lacerations to concussions with medical specials over $70,000. The Plaintiffs and Co-Defendant alleged that the Limo driver negligently reversed into a driveway blocking all lanes of the road for an unreasonable amount of time during hazardous road conditions, and that the Limo driver was responsible for its passengers’ injuries under the common carrier doctrine. The investigating police officer found the primary cause of the accident to be the Limo driver’s failure to yield the right of way while reversing into the driveway. The Plaintiffs asked for over $1,000,000 in damages from both Defendants. The jury found PWLLC’s client Not Guilty and the Co-Defendant 100% at fault, and awarded damages in excess of $400,000 to the Plaintiffs.
Verdict: $3,956,088.00. $136,951 to Emily Walsh; $111,030 to Patricia Bennett; $3,633,106 to Margaret Bennett ($403,106 past medical expenses; $225,000 future medical expenses; $1,000,000 past pain and suffering; $500,000 future pain and suffering; $1,000,000 past loss of normal life; $500,000 future loss of normal life; $5,000 disfigurement); $75,000 to Clifford Bennett ; $1 punitive damages to all plaintiffs.
Asked the Jury: $87,431,699 total
Deft Attys: Clifford M. Panek and M. Kathleen McHugh
Offer: Policy Limit
On November 12, 2011, plaintiff Margaret Bennett took her daughter and another child to see “The Sound of Music” at the Drury Lane Theater in Oak Brook, and they then went out for ice cream in Elmhurst. As they drove home around 8:30 p.m., heading southbound on York Road in Oak Brook, an oncoming northbound car driven by defendant Rodriguez crossed over the center line and slammed head-on into plaintiffs vehicle. The impact was heavy and destroyed both vehicles. Multiple emergency personnel responded to the scene, both drivers had to be extricated from their vehicles, and all occupants were transported to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove. Prior to the crash, M-25 Rodriguez had consumed 15 beers while sitting in a parking lot in Hinsdale; he drove only three-quarters of a mile before the collision occurred. Rodriguez, an undocumented immigrant, had a blood alcohol content of .197 at the time of the crash, more than twice the legal limit. He plead guilty to aggravated DUI and is currently serving an eight year prison sentence. Plaintiff F-6 Emily sustained three skull fractures, a subdural hemorrhage, traumatic brain injury, several broken ribs, two liver lacerations and a lung contusion. Plaintiff F-6 Patricia suffered a fractured clavicle, a groin laceration requiring stitches, and post -traumatic stress disorder requiring past and future psychiatric treatment. Plaintiff F-46 Margaret was trapped in her car with a crushed right leg, including a shattered femur (comminuted fractures), compound (open) patella fracture, and a crushed heel; she also sustained two fractured vertebrae, permanent shortening of the right leg, and a 12-inch disfiguring leg scar. Margaret has undergone six leg surgeries, inpatient rehab care, and years of physical therapy; she will require future ankle fusion and total knee replacement surgeries. Her husband Clifford claimed loss of consortium as well as dramatic changes to his life during his wife’s inability to ambulate and wheelchair dependency. The defense admitted negligence, but disputed the extent of plaintiffs injuries and denied willful and wanton conduct.