Recent Verdicts/Settlements

Medical Malpractice

$1.95 million — Our client underwent a CT scan of her abdomen after presentation to the emergency room with abdominal pain, which was thought to be appendicitis. The scan was interpreted as normal and the plaintiff was diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). For the following 16 months, she continued to have abdominal pain and was told she had GERD by various physicians. Subsequently, she underwent a colonoscopy, which revealed stage 4 colon cancer. The defendants allegedly failed to properly diagnose the mass allegedly visible on the CT and had they done so, the plaintiff allegedly would have been a candidate for surgical resection of her colon and would have survived the disease. However, she succumbed to the disease nearly 4 1/2 years after its diagnosis. She is survived by her husband and several adult children. This matter settled one month before trial.

Slip And Fall

$700,000 — The plaintiff, age 53, was descending an outside stairwell of his apartment when the edge of the stair broke, causing him to fall down the flight of stairs. He suffered injury to his cervical and lumbar spine. He initially treated conservatively for his injuries with physical therapy and injections. Later, he underwent a fusion to his cervical spine by Dr. Mark Lorenz at Hinsdale Orthopedics & Associates. With regard to his lower back, Dr. Scott Glaser recommended a spinal cord stimulator, but the plaintiff could not have the permanent procedure due to his other comorbidities. Notably, the plaintiff's pain subsided significantly with a trial stimulator. The defense disputed the lower back injury as being related to the fall.

$395,000 — Our client, who suffers from cerebral palsy and walks with a cane, tripped and fell on unsecured mats placed outside an elevator bank to protect the carpet during a commercial tenant's move out of the premises. As a result of the fall, our client suffered severe and permanent injuries to his rotator cuff, requiring surgical intervention. This matter settled at mediation shortly after the filing of the lawsuit.

Legal Malpractice


$574,507
(before reductions) — In January 2010, the plaintiff retained the defendant, the Law Office of Kevin O'Brien, to represent him in a workers' compensation matter for a work fall in October 2009. The plaintiff was working as a sous chef when he slipped and fell on ice in the freezer, injuring his right shoulder and neck. During treatment for his right shoulder injury, the plaintiff underwent a cervical MRI and was informed by his orthopedic surgeon that he also had a C3-4 disk herniation and a congenital abnormality known as Chiari malformation. Notably, prior to the October 2009 workplace incident, the plaintiff never complained of neck pain nor was he aware that he had the congenital abnormality. On May 20, 2010, Dr. Vincent Traynelis, the plaintiff's treating neurosurgeon, conducted a fusion surgery to repair the C3-4 disk herniation and conducted a C1-6 fusion and decompression to stabilize the now symptomatic Chiari malformation. On Aug. 4, 2010, the defendant sent the plaintiff an email in legal jargon requesting permission to settle his case. On that same date, the plaintiff had just gotten out of another hospital stay, having undergone his ninth brain surgery in 2½ months. Prior to Aug. 4, 2010, the defendant had nothing in writing to show that the plaintiff wanted to settle his case because he needed money. The plaintiff agreed to settle, but only because he was told by the Law Offices of Kevin O'Brien that the settlement was for his shoulder injury only. Notably, the plaintiff never received any settlement documentation in the email, which showed that, in fact, his entire case was settled in full.

The settlement documentation showed that the C3-4 disk herniation and aggravation of the pre-existing Chiari malformation were expressly denied as being related to the workplace incident. After the settlement funds were distributed, the plaintiff continued to call the Law Office of Kevin O'Brien as did the Law Office of Kevin O'Brien place calls to the plaintiff. Phone records prove that calls were placed from August 2010 until June 2012, the first time the plaintiff received some of his settlement documentation from the Law Office of Kevin O'Brien. The plaintiff had to request the settlement documentation three times before receiving a full copy.

The defendant, the Law Office of Kevin O'Brien, contended at trial that the plaintiff wanted to settle because he was in desperate need of money; the plaintiff knew his congenital abnormality, Chiari malformation, was not related to the October 2009 workplace incident because he filed for Social Security Disability Insurance for the injury; Dr. Vincent Traynelis specifically told the defendant law office that the Chiari malformation was not related to the workplace incident in October 2009. The plaintiff knew he settled his case in full because he never spoke to the Law Offices of Kevin O'Brien after the case settled in August 2010.

Had the Law Office of Kevin O'Brien not prematurely settled the plaintiff's workers' compensation case while the plaintiff was treating for his related workplace injuries and had the Law Office of Kevin O'Brien properly investigated the cause of the plaintiff's injuries, including the aggravation of the pre-existing condition, the plaintiff would have recovered damages under the Illinois Worker's Compensation Act for a permanently totally disabled person. After 3½ years of litigation and nearly two weeks of trial, justice prevailed for the plaintiff.

$65,000 — Legal malpractice for failure to properly perfect a lien with a trustee regarding a land trust

Federal Employees Liability Act

$400,000 — Metra passenger Pollard was behaving erratically while riding as a passenger on the Metra train, talking loudly on his phone and cursing. Metra conductor Holcomb respectfully asked him twice during the ride from downtown to quiet down and stop swearing. When the train stopped at Hyde Park, Holcomb got off to help passengers disembark. Pollard got off and started to walk away, then turned around and swung at Holcomb. The two of them wrestled on the platform and Holcomb ended up with a fracture to his mid-foot.

The plaintiff's wage loss was approximately $225,000 to $265,000. The plaintiff's medical bills were paid by the railroad and not admitted. Holcomb never returned to work and had approximately 31 months of wage loss to age 60.

X-rays and CT scans showed fracture of the medial cuneiform and malalignment of the first and second metatarsals. Surgery was orif of medial cuneiform and navicular-medial cuneiform. No future medicals.

Regional pain syndrome was a differential diagnosis and never confirmed. He was not treated for it. He uses a cane occasionally, although it was not prescribed, and takes over-the-counter meds.

The Metra Police Department was in a state of chaos at the time as documented by the Hilliard-Hynes report, commissioned by Metra. We argued that Metra did not provide a safe place to work due to lack of police presence, lack of training for conductors on how to deal with unruly passengers and lack of closed-circuit cameras. There were many prior similar incidents of criminal attacks on Metra conductors, including the murder of conductor Wilbur Hooten on the same train line.

The railroad claimed the sole cause of the injury was the conduct of Pollard.

Mr. Bizzieri worked the file up for trial; Brugess and Terranova tried it until settlement.

$120,000 — A Metra employee suffered a herniated disk in his lower spine while working at the Storehouse in Blue Island. Our client entered the bed of a truck on a forklift to offload reels of cable. While in the bed of the semi-trailer, the dock plate automatically reset itself, unbeknownst to our client. While backing up out of the bed of the truck, the forklift crashed into the dock plate/dock.

Workers' Compensation

$321,800 — The petitioner, now age 53, injured his cervical spine while working, requiring a cervical fusion and disk removal. He underwent two surgeries in an attempt to return to work. Eventually, he returned to work part time. This settlement represents a wage differential under the act. Additionally, the petitioner will receive an annuity in the amount of approximately $33,000 for the cost of future medical treatment as a Medicare set-aside.

$285,000 — Settlement for a 59-year-old woman who suffered serious lower back injuries while lifting a heavy pan of cookie dough at The Creamery. Our client underwent a fusion with the insertion of hardware; however, the hardware was later removed. She will not return to work in the immediate future. In addition to her settlement, our client received a $195,000 Medicare set-aside (MSA) for all future medical treatment for her lower back.

$150,000 — Our client, a father of four, was working as an electrician for his employer, Four Star Electric, at a Walgreens construction site in Huntley, Illinois. While pushing an A-frame cart that held 14 reels of wire, the front caster (wheel) fell into an uncovered plumber's cleanout (hole). The plumber's cleanout had been created and left uncovered by employees of a subcontractor of the general contractor on the project. The A-frame cart fell onto its side as a result of the front caster dropping into the plumber's cleanout, injuring our client. This matter settled presuit.

$90,000 — Our client, while in the course of his employment for the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, was driving in a staggered tandem of snowplow trucks to clear snow/ice off southbound Interstate 294. He had his emergency lights flashing as a warning to those on the road. Our client was entirely within the left most lane of the road when the co-defendant entered the road from an entrance ramp in an effort to get ahead of the tandem of trucks. Soon thereafter, she admittedly lost control of her vehicle and spun into our client's lane, causing an impact. As a result of that initial collision, our client was then immediately rear-ended by a Con-Way Freight tractor-trailer, which was traveling behind him illegally within the left most lane of traffic. The State of Illinois has left lane restrictions for the operation of tractor-trailers at and near the location of the impact. As a result of the occurrence, our client suffered cervical and lumbar injuries. This matter settled at mediation.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

$230,000 — The plaintiff, age 56, was rear-ended while at a complete stop. She suffered a torn rotator cuff in her shoulder. Initially, our client underwent conservative treatment in the form of physical therapy at ATI as well as cortisone injections by her treating orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Nikhil Verma at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush. Ultimately, however, surgical intervention was necessary. She had a great recovery.

$225,000 — Presuit settlement for a mother who was killed in a DUI car crash. The amount was the extent of the coverage and the defendant driver did not have any assets.

$150,000 — Highly disputed truck collision as to who had the right of way on Route 83 just east of Harlem Avenue, where two eastbound lanes of travel become a single lane. The plaintiff, a young woman, suffered a comminuted fracture to her patella (knee) during the crash. Our client had to be extricated from her vehicle due to the severity of the collision. This matter settled at mediation.

$100,000 — Presuit settlement for a 35-year-old man who suffered lumbar herniation in a rear-end car collision.

$20,000 — The plaintiff, a young man, was riding a motorcycle to work when suddenly a vehicle tried to turn left in front of him. Our client was thrown through the air upon impact and suffered a fracture to his clavicle and toe, as well as lung contusion and road rash.

Personal Injury

$80,000 — A 35-year-old triathlete was injured at an Equinox gym. She suffered a disk injury to her thoracic spine (middle of back) when she was fell off a stationary bicycle during a spin class. The incident occurred as our client attempted to adjust the seat of the stationary bicycle and the seat cracked off, causing her to fall into the bicycle behind her while still clipped into the pedals.