Child Sues Chicago Board of Education over 5 Years of Sexual Abuse by Employee

Chicago plaintiff attorney Lyndsay A. Markley

Chicago plaintiff attorney Lyndsay A. Markley is an NTL Top 100 Trial Attorney.

A former elementary school student filed suit against the Chicago Board of Education, claiming he suffered years of sexual abuse by an employee who organized school sponsored programs for students.

According to the complaint filed by Chicago attorney Lyndsay Markley, the CBE knew that the accused perpetrator, Marvin Lovett, was not fit to work with children, but continued to employ him despite receiving warnings that Lovett was acting inappropriately towards male minors.

“We believe that the evidence in this case will show that the CBE allowed a predator to walk the halls of an elementary school for years preying upon innocent children.  My client deserves to be compensated for the horrific abuse he suffered at the hands of a CBE employee.  All children deserve to be safe. The CBE must be held accountable and take action to ensure that this tragedy is not repeated,” Markley says.

The case is John D. Doe v. Board of Education, No 2017L008977, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. The boy was abused from 1988 through 1993 while attending James Weldon Elementary School in Chicago’s North Lawndale Community.

20th victim

This is the 20th victim to come forward with an allegation of sexual abuse with against Lovett and the first plaintiff in a lawsuit only against the BOE. The other 19 plaintiffs claim that they were abused during Lovett’s employment with the United Airlines Believers Program in a lawsuit filed against United Airlines, Inc., the BOE, and I Have A Dream Chicago, Inc.

Sylvester Jamison shot Lovett to death in his apartment in 2000. Jamison, then aged 17, told police that Lovett had sexually abused for years. During the police investigation, 140 video tapes were found in Lovett’s apartment depicting sexual acts involving African-American male minors.

Markley represents a number of other plaintiffs with allegations of sexual abuse against Lovett during his time as an agent of the BOE and intends to file these over the next several months.

“All parents deserve to feel safe entrusting their children to Chicago Public Schools for an education.  All children can, and should, be safe attending school. This case is a parent’s worst nightmare: sexual abuse of their child by a man the Chicago Board of Education empowered,” Markley says.

Lyndsay Markley is an NTL Top 100 Trial Attorney. She has dedicated her legal practice to fighting on behalf of persons who suffered injuries or death as the result of the wrongful or careless conduct of others.

Philadelphia Jury Awards $57.1 Million in Ethicon Pelvic Mesh Verdict

Mesh manufacturer knowingly continued use of resin dangerous to human bodies.

A jury in Philadelphia awarded more than $57 million to a woman who was internally scarred and left incontinent by a defective Ethicon pelvic mesh implant made by Johnson & Johnson. The award, the largest so far in several recent mesh injury trials in the state, includes $50 million in punitive damages.

The jury found in favor of plaintiff Ella Ebaugh, determining that two of Ethicon’s mesh devices had caused internal mutilations permanently impairing her urinary system. The case is In Re: Pelvic Mesh Litigation, Case No. 140200829.

Attorneys in the case said the verdict sends a message to J&J and Ethicon about the impropriety of their conduct surrounding the design and marketing of the dangerous surgical mesh devices. Of the two mesh devices that were the subject of the lawsuit, one has been recalled but the other, Ethicon’s TVT product, remains on the market even as substantial numbers of mesh injury lawsuits continue to move through the courts.

29,905 federal lawsuits

In separate litigation, Ethicon faces 29,905 federal lawsuits consolidated before US District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin in MDL 2327, IN RE: Ethicon, Inc., Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation.

The previous highest-result mesh injury case from the series ongoing in Pennsylvania was $20 million. Ethicon has stated it intends to appeal the jury’s decision in Ms. Ebaugh’s case.

The previous highest-result mesh injury case from the series ongoing in the Philadelphia  Court of Common Pleas was $20 million. Some 130 pelvic mesh lawsuits are pending there in a mass tort program. Ethicon has stated it intends to appeal the jury’s decision in Ms. Ebaugh’s case.

Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson have prevailed in a single Pennsylvania pelvic mesh trial.  Four Philadelphia juries have awarded Ethicon plaintiffs $12.5 million, $13.6 million, 17.5 million, and $20 million in damages.

Olympic Athlete Recovers $2 Million for Fractured Hip in Car Wreck

David Adley Smith competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

David Adley Smith competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Olympic high jumper David Adley Smith II, known as D.J., recovered $2 million in Troup County Superior Court in Georgia after an unhealed bone chip in his hip hampered his performance, costing him professional contracts and sponsorships.

A car crash fractured Lee’s hip when he was a student at Auburn University and a champion high jumper. Donggue Lee, a Korean national on a student visa, struck his car on I-85. The case is Smith v. Lee, No. 14-CV-0644.

Lee, age 25, continued to train while his doctors treated the injury with physical therapy. Later, an MRI revealed the bone chip that never properly healed, causing him to get surgery. His doctors testified that his flexibility and strength were impaired, according to plaintiff attorney Matthew Alford of Willis McKenzie in LaGrange, GA.

The trial, which lasted less than three days, was set for the same week as a world championship track and field event in London, Alford said. He told the jury that, if not for the wreck, Smith would have been in London competing instead of sitting in court.

“What really resonated with this jury is D.J. was an elite world class high jumper who achieved a lot of professional achievement and results at 90 to 95 percent of his ability,” Alford told the Daily Report. “He can still jump, and he’s trying to train and compete, but his profession is measured in centimeters.”

$2.5 Million Verdict for Car Thief Shot to Death by NYC Cop

A jury in New York held the City liable for $2.5 million in the case of a police officer who shot and killed a car thief who struck the officer with his car.

The Supreme Court, Kings County, jury found that officer John Chell intentionally shot the driver, Ortanzso Bovell, from above and behind after he regained his feet. Bovell, a 25-year-old unemployed man, was killed with a single shot to the heart on Aug. 7, 2008.

Plaintiff attorney Jon L. Norinsberg of Norinsberg Law in New York recovered the verdict on March 17, 2017 after a five-week trial. The case is Lorna Wright-Bovell as Administrator of the Estate of Ortanzso Bovell v. The City of New York and John Chell, Case. No. 25659/09.

According to Norinsberg, Bovell was observed in a stolen vehicle by officer Chell and three other officers. The officers approached the vehicle at a red light with guns drawn. Bovell put the car in drive and struck several cars, trying to flee the scene.

The driver crashed into a metal gate where he was then surrounded by the officers again. He put the car into reverse, striking officer Chell with the driver’s side door and knocking him to the ground. At this point officer Chell claimed his gun went off accidentally.

The bullet struck Bovell in the upper left part of his back, hitting the third rib, and traveling through his lung and into the left ventricle of his heart, killing him.

Chell claimed that firearm discharged as he was being hit by the vehicle, however, the ballistics analysis of the trajectory of the bullet was not consistent with his version of events. Plaintiff’s expert forensic pathologist testified that plaintiff was conscious for between 4-5 minutes after the gunshot before he lost consciousness.

The jury found that Chell fired his weapon intentionally at plaintiff, that a battery had been committed, and awarded $2,500,000 for Bovell’s conscious pain and suffering.

The plaintiff experts were John Baeza of Brooksville, FL, testifying on police practices and procedures, pathologist Lone Thanning, MD, of Huntington, NY, and Bruno R. Valenti of Smithtown, NY, testifying about firearms and ballistics.


5 Deaths Tied to Weight-Loss Balloon Treatments for Obese Patients

The FDA reports that five patients died unexpectedly from 2016 to the present because of liquid-filled intragastric balloon systems used to treat obesity.

Four reports involve the Orbera Intragastric Balloon System, manufactured by Apollo Endo Surgery, and one report involves the ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon System, manufactured by ReShape Medical Inc.

All five reports show those patient deaths occurred within a month or less of balloon placement. In three reports, death occurred as soon as one to three days after balloon placement.

“At this time, we do not know the root cause or incidence rate of patient death, nor have we been able to definitively attribute the deaths to the devices or the insertion procedures for these devices, e.g., gastric and esophageal perforation, or intestinal obstruction. The agency has also received two additional reports of deaths in the same time period related to potential complications associated with balloon treatment — one gastric perforation with the Orbera Intragastric Balloon System and one esophageal perforation with the ReShape Integrated Dual Balloon System,” the FDA says.

Spontanous over-inflation

The FDA continues to work with Apollo Endo-Surgery and ReShape Medical Inc. to better understand the issue of unanticipated death, and to monitor the potential complications of acute pancreatitis and spontaneous over-inflation. Additionally, as part of the ongoing, FDA-mandated post-approval studies for these devices, the agency will get more information to help assess the continued safety and effectiveness of these approved medical devices.

In February 2017, the FDA first issued a letter to health care providers to recommend close monitoring of patients with liquid-filled intragastric balloon systems for the potential risks of acute pancreatitis and spontaneous over-inflation. Since issuing this letter, both companies have revised their product labeling to address these risks.

The FDA recommends that health care providers closely monitor patients treated with these devices for complications and that you report any adverse events related to intragastric balloon systems through MedWatch, the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program. Prompt reporting of adverse events can help the FDA identify and better understand the risks associated with medical devices.

$2.28M Verdict for Woman Whose Pre-Existing Condition Was Worsened by Trip-and-Fall

“Ms. Harris was seriously injured as a result of falling down the apartment complex’s negligently maintained steps, and it was apparent that no one at the apartment complex took her injuries seriously,” said Attorney Tim Moran. (Stock photo)

A Florida woman recovered a $2,228,679 jury verdict after seriously injuring her back in a trip-and-fall down stairs in a negligent apartment complex.

Attorney Tim Moran, assisted by attorney Ashley Winstead of Morgan & Morgan, represented Rosetta Harris of Atlantic Beach, FL, who struggled with a pre-existing medical condition that caused her back pain for over seven years prior to the accident. Her condition was greatly worsened by the painful trip-and-fall down a poorly-maintained set of stairs in the apartment complex, according to the complaint.

Her injuries required a visit to the emergency room, as well as costly long-term medical treatments such as chiropractic care and pain management.

Initial $0 offer

Despite the high cost of her medical treatment, Ms. Harris’s insurance company initially offered her nothing, blaming her serious back injury on her pre-existing condition, rather than the trip-and-fall that only occurred due to the negligent conditions of the apartment complex building’s stairway.

The defense’s highest pre-trial offer — $50,000 — did not even begin to cover Ms. Harris’s prior medical expenses caused by her accident, let alone future treatment. That’s why Moran took the fight to court to get his client the fair verdict she deserved to heal from her injuries.

The jury disagreed with the insurance company’s assessment of Ms. Harris’s injuries and reached a jury verdict of $2.28M to compensate the client for her pain and suffering, past and future medical bills, and other damages.

Furthermore, the jury found the apartment complex where Ms. Harris’s accident took place to be 100 percent at-fault for the injuries she suffered due to negligence on the property.

“Ms. Harris was seriously injured as a result of falling down the apartment complex’s negligently maintained steps, and it was apparent that no one at the apartment complex took her injuries seriously,” said Moran. “I am so glad the jury took her case seriously, and returned a fair and just verdict, which will allow Ms. Harris to obtain the future medical care she will require, as well as compensate her for the effects the injuries from the fall have had on her life.”

The case is Rosetta Harris vs. PBH Mayport, LLC, d/b/a Promenade at Mayport and B H Management Services, LLC, case number 16-2015-CA-2989, in the Circuit Court, Fourth Judicial Circuit, in and for Duval County, Florida.

Florida Jury Awards $1.1 Million in Teen’s Balcony Fall Injury Case

law news, legal news, verdict, settlementA Jacksonville, FL, jury has handed down a $1,105,000 verdict in favor of Amanda Fournier for the broken neck she suffered at age 17 from falling through the faulty railing of a residential balcony

Fournier, now 21, was an incoming freshman at University of North Florida at the time of the fall. She was attending a fraternity party at a rented Jacksonville residence owned by Shahab Derazi. The party included up to 250 people, including up to 70 on the deck.

“Through our investigation and in the subsequent testimony we clearly showed the jury that the railing was not properly affixed to the second-floor balcony according to code or by the manufacturer’s instructions,” said Mark Avera, Partner, Avera & Smith. “The owner also failed to have a professional inspection of the balcony and railing, a structure that presented an extremely dangerous circumstance ultimately causing Amanda’s devastating fall and injury.”

Avera & Smith attorneys Mark Avera and Rod Smith demonstrated to the jury that Derazi hired an unlicensed contractor to repair the balcony and inspect the railing three months before the fall and that the contractor never secured a permit for the job. Avera asserted that an inspection by a building official would have very likely identified the dangerous condition of the balcony railing.

Fournier, who suffered compression fractures to vertebrae in her neck and back, required a two-level fusion of her cervical spine as a result of the fall, followed by extensive physical therapy. It’s probable she will need more surgery in the future.

US Tort Reform Bill Kills Deterrent Effect of Litigation Against Bad Nursing Homes

By Martin P. Schrama

The latest tort reform measure, H.R. 1215, the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017, would place caps on medical malpractice damages, limit attorney fees, and change statutes of limitations. Among other changes to current law, non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits would be limited to $250,000 – and juries would not be informed of this cap on damages.

Litigation enables residents of nursing homes who suffer adverse outcomes, or their families, to be compensated. The availability of noneconomic damages to nursing home victims, along with the deterrence effect of litigation in improving or maintaining quality of care, should be considered when assessing tort reform.

The bill would apply to health care lawsuits where coverage for the care was provided or subsidized by the federal government, including through subsidies or tax benefits.

H.R. 1215 would preempt state laws governing health care litigation in several areas, including statutes of limitation, joint and several liability, product liability, and attorney contingency fees.

Proponents of the bill claim that the bill would lower medical liability insurance premiums, and by extension, cut the incidence of so-called “defensive” medical treatments and lower costs associated with federal health care programs such as Medicaid.

Deterrent effect of litigation

Consumer groups and other opponents of the tort reform bill support litigation as a vehicle for compensating victims of substandard care and as a deterrent that encourages facilities to give better quality care.

A recent study addresses the potential deterrent effect of nursing home litigation on the quality of nursing home care. The study assesses whether the threat of litigation serves as a deterrent to substandard care. The issue is whether placing caps on medical malpractice damages would negatively affect nursing home patient care.

The study used claims data to test the market-level effects of changes in the malpractice litigation environment. That data was combined with facility information on quality and an area-based measure of litigation threat to address the relationship between litigation and quality of care.

The quality of care is a function of malpractice claims as resources are diverted to address lawsuits. The deterrence effect results when the expected probability of a lawsuit and associated costs causes facilities to choose higher levels of care quality. The issue is whether facilities actually invest in increased quality in response to increased liability threat.

Tort reform has historically treated nursing home medical malpractice separately from medical malpractice in other types of facilities. Economic damages constitute a smaller proportion of damage awards in nursing home cases because residents are generally older and not employed. The role of non-economic damages in the deterrence effect, therefore, plays an important part of the risk/benefit analysis involving tort reform and nursing home malpractice.

The study concluded that the threat of malpractice litigation may serve as a deterrent to low quality care in nursing homes as measured by increases in RN-to-total staffing ratios in response to rising malpractice threat and by a reduction in pressure sores among highly staffed facilities. The deterrence effect was strongest among for-profit, chain, and large facilities. The deterrence effect may prompt low-staffed facilities to increase the RN ratio.

Martin P. Schrama is a Shareholder in Stark & Stark’s Commercial Litigation, Mass Tort, Intellectual Property and Green Litigation Groups. He has extensive experience litigating on both the trial and appellate levels of the federal and state courts of New Jersey and New York. This experience also extends to regular practice before AAA, JAMS and various other alternate dispute resolution fora.

He can be reached at [email protected] and 609.895.7334.

Walgreens Pays $75,000 for Losing Chicago Family’s VHS Tapes

A Cook County, Illinois arbitrator has awarded a Chicago couple, Jamie and David Schwartz, $75,000 for the loss of 28 VHS tapes the couple took to Walgreens for conversion to DVD.

“Walgreens advertised that its VHS to DVD conversion program would preserve irreplaceable memories forever yet after it negligently destroyed 30 years of memories, it wanted to reimburse the Schwartz family a couple of hundred bucks,” said attorney Francis Patrick Murphy, a partner at Corboy & Demetrio.  

Jamie Schwartz took her family’s VHS tapes for conversion to DVD format to the Walgreens at 2317 N. Clark St. in Chicago on Sept. 26, 2014.  Walgreens advertised this conversion would preserve irreplaceable memories forever. The store was moving to 2500 N. Clark in a couple of weeks. It admitted that all the tapes were destroyed during the move.

Evidence showed that proper identification and tracking procedures for packaging were not followed by the store’s employee when Jamie brought in the tapes. Walgreens searched for the tapes for weeks, but they were never found.

Drugstore offers blank tape value

Walgreens then offered the replacement value of a blank tape – about $9 each or $252 for all the tapes, according to the liability disclaimer that was printed on the back side of the claim check. Walgreens also contended that Jamie Schwartz knew of the limiting terms by clicking the computer kiosk screen, which limited the value for these irreplaceable memories to the cost of a blank tape.  However, evidence at the arbitration showed that the Walgreens employee who processed the order clicked the computer kiosk screen and not Mrs. Schwartz.

“This suit was about the principle that if a corporation accepts your product in good condition and it destroys it, it cannot limit the value of the product without telling the customer up front about the conditions.  Hiding the conditions on the back of the claim check is unacceptable,” concluded Murphy.  “If Walgreens had told Jamie it would pay only the replacement value of a blank tape if it negligently destroyed the tapes, do you think she would have gone through with the deal? Of course not!” Murphy added.

Walgreens claimed it was only responsible for the replacement cost of a blank tape and not the actual value of the content of the tapes including sentimental damages suffered by the Schwartz family.  The arbitrator disagreed.  The size of the award was the highest amount the arbitrator could award.

“No amount of money will replace 30 years of memories,” Murphy stated.  “But if this suit prevents another family from losing their family treasures, then Jamie and David have accomplished what they wanted to do,” Murphy added.

Corboy & Demetrio is one of the nation’s premier personal injury law firms. It represents individuals and their families in serious personal injury and wrongful death cases and is renowned for its achievements in the courtroom and for its contributions to the community.

Widower of Smoker Recovers $1.65M Verdict, Scores Major Victory Against Big Tobacco

big tobaccoA man who lost his wife 14 years ago to lung cancer as a result of her lifelong addiction to tobacco recovered a $1,650,000 verdict in a landmark victory against tobacco company R.J. Reynolds this week, ending an eight-year battle for justice.

Plaintiff attorneys Craig Stevens and John Dill of Morgan & Morgan represented John Maloney in the case on behalf of his late wife, Carolyn. Ever since she died Maloney has fought to hold the tobacco giant liable for her death.

50-year conspiracy

The jury found that R.J. Reynolds, committed negligence, sold a defective and inherently dangerous product along with fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud and was part of a 50-year conspiracy that put consumers’ health at grave risk. Jurors also found that the company’s actions ultimately were the cause of Carolyn Maloney’s addiction and death, and awarded the client a $1.65 million jury verdict as a result.

Additionally, because Stevens and Dill beat the expired Proposal for Settlement, R.J. Reynolds will have to pay attorney fees and costs — which could add up to over $1 million.

This case has special significance because it is part of the “Engle Progeny” litigation. After the Florida Supreme Court decertified a class action lawsuit filed by pediatrician Howard Engle for injuries suffered due to smoking, thousands of former class members were able to file individual lawsuits against cigarette manufacturers for their injuries and losses.

Mrs. Maloney was one of those former class members and this suit was the first of the “Engle” cases to be won in the jurisdiction.

“This verdict is a satisfying conclusion to the long fight for justice against the tobacco giant,” Stevens said. Despite the setback of a mistrial in 2016, Morgan & Morgan’s attorneys kept up the fight and retried the case this year, because they knew Mr. Maloney deserved better.

8 years and 2 trials

“I spent 8 years fighting this case for Mr. Maloney,” said Stevens. “We went through two jury trials to finally get justice.”

“We are very pleased that the jury did the right thing,” said Dill. “It was a long battle, but worth every second. Our client had the love of his life taken from him because of corporate greed. Justice is sweet.”

The case is John Maloney, as PR of the Estate of Carolyn Maloney vs. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., case number 07-CA-015578, in the Circuit Court of the 20th Judicial Circuit of the State of Florida.