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Antonicelli, was a passenger in a vehicle traveling on I-88. Three lanes were closed for construction. Browder was operating a semi-tractor and trailer, traveling behind Antonicelli’s vehicle. Rodriguez, under the influence of cocaine, made an improper U-turn through the median and collided with Antonicelli’s vehicle, causing it to rotate. Browder was unable to stop his semi and slammed into Antonicelli’s vehicle. Antonicelli suffered severe permanent injuries. Rodriguez pled guilty to aggravated driving under the influence of drugs and acknowledged fault. Antonicelli sued and entered ­ into a settlement with Rodriguez for $20,000, the limit of his insurance coverage. Rodriguez sought a finding of a good-faith settlement, informing the court that the insurance policy was his only material asset. The nonsettling Browder defendants counterclaimed for contribution against Rodriguez, alleging that Rodriguez’s conduct was intentional rather than negligent under the Contribution Act (740 ILCS 100/2). The court granted Rodriguez a finding of good faith and dismissal, allowing the Browder defendants to credit $20,000 against any future judgment. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed, finding no basis for the allegation of intentional conduct. The Browder counterclaims alleging intentional conduct are separate and independent causes of action that do not change the nature of Antonicelli’s complaint, which alleged only negligent conduct. Requiring a court to make a determination as to each defendant’s fault before finding that a settlement agreement was in good faith would be impracticable and would defeat the Act's purpose of encouraging settlement in the absence of bad faith, fraud, or collusion. View "Antonicelli v. Rodriguez" on Justia Law

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A Robinson police officer heard a motorcycle “revving” before observing it making a “very wide” turn, nearly hitting a telephone pole. The officer followed, turned on his emergency lights, and activated his siren, but the motorcycle continued to weave across the road for about 12 blocks before turning into a driveway. The motorcycle was driven by Mark, whose wife, Petra, was a passenger on the back. Mark got off the motorcycle, exhibiting “a strong odor of alcohol,” slurred speech, and poor balance. A breath test revealed his blood alcohol concentration was 0.161, over twice the legal limit. Mark was charged with aggravated DUI and driving without a valid driver’s license. Since 1996, his license had been summarily suspended multiple times; it was revoked following his 2008 DUI conviction. That revocation was extended after he was convicted of driving with a revoked license. Police seized the 2010 Harley-Davidson. The state sought forfeiture (720 ILCS 5/36-1(a)(6)(A)(i)). Petra was shown to be the vehicle’s title owner, although Mark maintained it and had the key. The court entered an order of civil forfeiture, finding Petra’s testimony not credible, and that she consented to Mark driving, knowing he was intoxicated and did not have a valid license. The court rejected her claim that forfeiture constituted an as-applied violation of the Eighth Amendment's excessive fines clause. The Illinois Supreme Court agreed. Petra’s culpability in Mark’s aggravated DUI was far more than negligible and she did not establish the motorcycle’s value for purposes of showing disproportionality. View "Hartrich v. 2010 Harley-Davidson" on Justia Law

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Chairez pled guilty to possessing a firearm within 1000 feet of a park in Aurora, Illinois. He filed a post-conviction petition, arguing that the statute was unconstitutional under the Second Amendment because an individual who is barred from carrying a firearm within 1000 feet of the locations listed in the statute (schools, public parks, public transportation facilities, residential properties owned, operated or managed by a public housing agency) is essentially barred from carrying a firearm in public. The circuit court declared section 24-1(a)(4)(c)(1.5) unconstitutional. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed, vacating Chairez’s conviction, without addressing other provisions of the statute. With respect to the provision concerning public parks, which is severable, the state provided no evidentiary support for its claims that prohibiting firearms within 1000 feet of a public park would reduce the risks posed to the police and public from dangerous weapons. The state merely speculates that the proximity of firearms threatens the health and safety of those in the public park. The lack of a valid explanation for how the law actually achieves its goal of protecting children and vulnerable populations from gun violence amounts to a failure by the state to justify the restriction on gun possession within 1000 feet of a public park. View "People v. Chairez" on Justia Law

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In 2010, as the trustee for an alternative loan trust, the Bank filed a residential mortgage foreclosure complaint against Pacific and others in Will County. The Bank later filed an affidavit for service by publication stating that, after searches of directory assistance and the Secretary of State’s business registration records, it was unable to locate Pacific. After service by publication, Pacific failed to respond. In July 2012, the court entered a default order and judgment of foreclosure, with a finding that service of process was proper. In February 2013, the property was sold at a sheriff’s sale. The Bank sought an order approving the sale. At the April 18 hearing, Pacific’s attorney appeared for the first time. The Bank failed to appear. The court dismissed for want of prosecution. On May 30, the court reinstated the case. On July 18, Pacific moved to quash service of process, asserting that Pacific is a foreign LLC registered in New Mexico, that it does not have an Illinois registered agent, and that service by publication was improper under 805 ILCS 180/1-50. In May 2014, the court denied Pacific’s motion because it was filed more than 60 days after Pacific filed its appearance (735 ILCS 5/15-1505.6(a)) and held that service by publication was proper. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, rejecting the Bank’s contention that the 60-day deadline was unaffected by the dismissal. Before 60 days can pass such an action necessarily must be pending. The court remanded the question of service by publication. View "Bank of New York Mellon v. Laskowski" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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Chicago police officers executed a search warrant at an apartment, forced entry and detained four individuals. Officers approached a locked, rear room, knocked and heard people moving, but got no response. Forcing entry, officers saw defendant holding a handgun (loaded with live rounds) and plastic bags, one containing 53 smaller bags of suspected crack cocaine and the other containing 92 bags of suspected heroin. Drugs, cash, ammunition, and narcotics packaging materials were also recovered from other areas. A chemist verified the contents of the bags defendant was holding. Defendant had prior convictions for robbery and aggravated robbery. Defendant was convicted as an armed habitual criminal, armed violence, and two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. The possession counts merged into the armed violence count. Defendant was sentenced to 7 years in prison on the armed habitual criminal count, consecutive to 15 years on the armed violence count. Consecutive sentences were mandated under Unified Code of Corrections section 5-8-4(d)(3). The appellate court and Illinois Supreme Court affirmed, rejecting defendant’s argument that his convictions for both armed violence and armed habitual criminal violated the one-act, one-crime rule because they were predicated on the same physical act of gun possession. The offenses did not result from precisely the same physical act and neither was a lesser-included offense of the other. Defendant’s conduct consisted of possession of the handgun and possession of the drugs. Although the two offenses shared the common act of possession of the handgun, the armed violence conviction involved a separate act, possessing the drugs. View "People v. Coats" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant and his brother, Jimmy, ambushed armored truck guards. Defendant was shot in the head. Jimmy died from gunshot wounds. Defendant was charged with first-degree felony murder based on attempted armed robbery (720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(3)), attempted armed robbery while armed with a firearm (8-4, 18-2(a)(2)), and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon (24-1.1(a)). Defendant was found fit to stand trial although his ability to recollect the incident was impaired. Possession of a firearm was an element of the predicate offense to attempted armed robbery. Jimmy had an apparent sawed-off shotgun that actually consisted of metal pipes taped to a piece of wood. Defendant had an inoperable unloaded .22-caliber derringer. Before jury selection, the state entered a nolle prosequi on attempted armed robbery and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon charges. During the jury instruction conference, the prosecutor sought a firearm sentencing enhancement instruction. Defense counsel objected. The jury found defendant guilty of first-degree murder while armed with a firearm. The court sentenced defendant to 25 years’ plus a 15-year term for possession of a firearm. The appellate court reversed because count I did not identify which of the attempted armed robbery offenses was the predicate for the felony murder charge. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed. Defendant was aware that the felony murder charge was predicated on attempted armed robbery with a firearm; his attorney presented a defense to that charge. Neither defendant nor the appellate court identified what other actions defendant could have taken, had the count I allegations particularly referenced possession of a firearm. View "People v. Carey" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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David attended a pledge event at Northern Illinois University's Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Vodka-laden hazing ensued. By the end of the night, David’s blood alcohol level reached more than five times the legal limit. David lost consciousness and died during the night. His estate sued the fraternity’s national organizations: the local chapter and its members; and certain non-member sorority women. The circuit court dismissed. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of the national organizations. The complaint’s allegations were insufficient to allege an agency relationship under which the Nationals would be vicariously liable for the conduct of the local members. An affirmative duty to aid or protect another against an unreasonable risk of physical harm or to control the conduct of another arises only within the context of a legally recognized “special relationship” that did not exist here. The other defendants may be sued for negligence. While no liability for the sale or gift of alcoholic beverages exists in Illinois outside of the Dramshop Act, the court noted the differences between a social host situation and an alcohol-related hazing event. A hazing injury is reasonably foreseeable and is likely to occur; the burden of guarding against injury is small, and the consequences of placing that burden on the members are reasonable. The women were more than guests. They were an integral part of the event and occupied a position of influence over the pledges. View "Bogenberger v. Pi Kappa Alpha Corp., Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Cohen was riding his bicycle on Lakefront Trail, a shared-use path that runs along the shore of Lake Michigan, when his front wheel caught in a crack in the pavement and he fell. Cohen sued the Chicago park district, alleging it acted willfully and wantonly in failing to maintain the path and was responsible for his injuries. The circuit court granted the park district summary judgment, concluding that it was immune from suit under the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, 745 ILCS 10/3-107(a), which grants absolute immunity to local public entities for injuries caused by a condition of a “road which provides access to fishing, hunting, or primitive camping, recreational, or scenic areas” or was immune from suit under section 3-106, which immunizes local public entities for injuries occurring on recreational property, except when the local public entity engages in willful and wanton conduct proximately causing the injuries. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed in part. Section 3-107(a) is inapplicable The district is, however, immune from suit under section 3-106. Lakefront Trail is not open to public, motorized traffic and is not a “road” within the meaning of section 3-107(a). The district’s actions were not willful or wanton. Cracks in paved surfaces are unavoidable in climates such as Chicago’s. The risk of injury from the crack was not an extraordinary and unusual risk; there were no prior injuries involving the crack. View "Cohen v. Chicago Park District" on Justia Law

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Erie is a Chicago “Federally Qualified Health Center” (FQHC), 42 U.S.C. 254b (2012). FQHCs rely heavily on federal grants and Medicaid reimbursement. Erie Employees are federal employees under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 42 U.S.C. 233(a). Erie was founded as a project between Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) and Erie Neighborhood House in 1957. NMH provides financial support and technical assistance, but Erie physicians seeking NMH privileges are required to apply for them. In 2005, Yarbrough went to the Erie after searching for a clinic that would not require insurance coverage. Yarbrough was informed that she would have her ultrasounds done at Northwestern and would likely deliver her baby at NMH. Based upon information she received during the visit, Yarbrough believed that Erie and NMH were the same entity. Yarbrough sued NMH. based on her daughter’s premature birth, alleging medical negligence. The Illinois Supreme Court answered a certified question: A hospital cannot be held vicariously liable under the doctrine of apparent agency set forth in Gilbert v. Sycamore, for the acts of the employees of an unrelated, independent clinic that is not a party to the litigation. Yarbrough sought treatment at Erie but looks to impose liability on NMH. Erie is neither owned nor operated by NMH. While Erie receives some charitable assistance from NMH, it relies heavily on federal money. Erie does not utilize the Northwestern name, Northwestern-related branding, or Northwestern’s trademark purple color. View "Yarbrough v. Northwestern Memorial Hospital" on Justia Law

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In 1996, defendant was indicted for the manufacture or delivery of cocaine in excess of 900 grams, a Class X felony. The Du Page County court granted bail; defendant posted a cash bond and regularly appeared in court. In June 1998, defendant failed to appear and his bond was forfeited. During the next 30 days, defendant did not surrender. A bench warrant issued for his arrest. A judgment was entered in the bail amount for the state. Defendant was tried in absentia and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment. In 2014, police stopped defendant for a traffic offense. Defendant presented false identification. Later, defendant revealed his true identity and admitted he had used false identities. Defendant began serving his sentence and was indicted for the violation of his 1996 bail bond, a Class 1 felony. Defendant claimed that, under the general statute of limitations for felonies, the state had three years to bring that charge. The state filed a superseding information, which alleged continuing violation of bail bond (720 ILCS 5/32-10(a)) The appellate court concluded that a 1990 appellate decision, Grogan, was improperly decided and that violation of bail bond is a continuing offense. The Illinois Supreme Court agreed, reversing Grogan; violation of bail bond is a continuing offense under 720 ILCS 5/3-8. The 2014 indictment was, however, untimely, because defendant's intervening conviction ended his duty to surrender and appear. View "People v. Casas" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law