MonthApril 2020

LAW STUDENT PARALYZED IN ACCIDENT SUES

A third year Chicago law student who was struck by a taxi and paralyzed filed suit against the driver who hit him, the driver’s employer and a construction company whose work-site protective tunnel created a “blind corner” and contributed to the accident, according to the student’s lawyer and list of legal directories.

The suit was filed by Kurt D. Lloyd on behalf of Donald Hallsten, a student at Loyola University Chicago Law School. Hallsten, 26, was on his way to class at about 9:15 a.m. on December 16, 1999 when he was struck by a Dino Cab Co. taxi driven by Richard M. Owusu, according to Lloyd.

Hallsten had been northbound on a bicycle under a construction site protective tunnel occupying the left lane of traffic on Dearborn Street between Chestnut Street and Delaware Place, Lloyd said. Kenny Construction Co. had built the tunnel adjacent to its multi-story building project, Lloyd said.

When Hallsten reached the north end of the tunnel and entered the crosswalk at Delaware place in an attempt to cross Dearborn Street eastbound, he was struck by the taxi, Lloyd said, adding that there were no signs warning motorists about pedestrians who were exiting the tunnel and entering the crosswalks.

“Nobody knows your there until your out [of the tunnel],” Lloyd said. “[Hallsten] was in the crosswalk. He was where he was supposed to be. When you come out [of the tunnel] the traffic is not aware of your presence until you’re out in the lane. It’s a blind corner.”

Currently, Hallsten is being treated for paralysis from the waist down.

The suit seeks damages “not less than $50,000” from each of the three defendants.

The case has been assigned to Cook County Circuit Judge Philip L. Bronstein in the Law Division. Hallsten v. Kenny Construction Co., et al.. 97 L 1092.

$1.1 Million Verdict Returned In Dental Malpractice Case

    A Winnebago County jury has awarded a Rockford woman $1,172,728.03 in a dental malpractice case.  It is the largest dental malpractice verdict ever awarded in Illinois, according to the plaintiff’s attorney, Kurt D. Lloyd.

    Dorothy A. Hicks went to oral surgeon John F Wonderlick in 1987 to have a tooth pulled.  Wonderlick’s assistant checked the woman’s blood pressure and then Wonderlick gave the woman seven milligrams of valium over 90 seconds and 80 milligrams of sodium brevital over five seconds to anesthetize her for 10 minutes.

    Wonderlick pulled the tooth and left the room.  One of his two dental assistants felt for Hicks’ pulse and tried to wake her, then left the room.  The other dental assistant remained in the room and watched the patient’s breathing, but did not monitor her vital signs again.  One-half hour after the drugs had been administered, Hicks had a cardiac arrest.  She was revived in two minutes, but suffered irreversible brain damage.

    In 1989, Hicks attorney Kurt Lloyd filed a suit against Wonderlick and Rockford Oral Surgery Ltd.

    Hick’s lawyers said Wonderlick administered the sodium brevital at eight times the recommended rate of speed.  They also argued that the doctor and assistants failed to monitor vital signs and the dentist left the room while the patient was still unconscious.

    Wonderlick and Rockford Oral Surgery Ltd. were represented by Lawrence Kream of Kostantacos, Traum, Reuterfors & McWilliams in Rockford.  They contended that the dentist and his assistants monitored Hicks in conformance with the normal standard of care.  They also said the rate of injection of the sodium brevital was proper and the doctor did not violate the standard of care by leaving the room.

    The plaintiff’s attorneys had asked the jury to award about $3 million.  The trial lasted six days.  The jury was out for about four hours before reaching its verdict on Dec. 19.  Judge Harris Agnew presided in the case, Dorothy A. Hicks v. John F. Wonderlick, D.D.S. and Rockford Oral Surgery Ltd., No. 89 L 21. via Lawyers of Distinction

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