On Monday, the law firm of Hurley McKenna & Mertz won a $14 million jury verdict against Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Dr. Elias Sabbagha for the family of a boy who suffered a brain injury at birth. Over the course of a 3 ½ week trial, Christopher T. Hurley and Mark R. McKenna demonstrated to the jury that the negligence of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Dr. Sabbagha during the boy’s birth caused his brain damage. Specifically, they proved that Dr. Sabbagha failed to perform a timely C-section when it was apparent that the fetus was in distress.
The verdict comes as a relief for the boy’s parents who have courageously fought for justice on behalf of their son over the past several years. HM&M is proud to have represented these wonderful, caring parents. As trial lawyers, there is nothing more rewarding than attaining justice for families like the one in this case.
This case was reported in the Chicago Sun-Times. To view the article, please click here.
Today the Diocese of Joliet released more of its internal documents relating to sexual abuse by its priests. This is part of the ongoing disclosure required as part of a legal settlement last year.
This most recent batch of documents sheds more light on 16 of the 34 priests included on the diocese's list of credibly accused clergy, and includes a 438-page file on Rev. James Burnett. Burnett was accused of molesting an 8 year-old boy while serving at St. Mary Catholic Church in Mokena. He later served as rector at the Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet.
It is tragic to read how much the church knew about clergy sex abuse, and even more tragic to realize how little it did to protect the most vulnerable members of its flock. Yet the unprecedented disclosures are empowering more victims to acknowledge the harm they suffered and to demand their rights.
It just keeps coming.
The institutions that downplayed the crisis--that denied knowing about sexual predators in their midst, that protected the abusers and covered up for them so they could hurt more and more children--just keep admitting to more.
Today it was the Archdiocese of Chicago. After years of denial, the Archdiocese has released thousands of pages of internal church documents showing how it concealed sexual abuse for decades, moving priests to new parishes where they molested again.
But we still don't know everything. The files only cover 30 priests, and even the Archdiocese acknowledges there are many more. As reported in USA Today, I told the reporter my take on this latest disclosure: "They have hand-picked 30 priests, but if they really are all about redemption and forgiveness they should release documents involving all the priests."
Sadly enough, we don't know how far this all goes. But here’s what I do know:
It will just keep coming.
I just came across this amazing story. A man in Britain whose wife died during routine surgery is trying to help the medical field learn from the tragedy. And it all stems from a failed airway situation very much like we saw in our last verdict for the Tagalos family.
As a pilot, Martin Bromiley has been taught safety procedures and communication methods to help address the “human factors” that cause 75% of airplane accidents. But he doesn’t see the medical profession recognizing these same factors, or taking measures to address them. Surely many medical tragedies—like his own wife’s death-- could be prevented if it did.
Like Mr. Bromily I believe that the vast majority of our doctors and medical professionals are well prepared and well intentioned. But doctors, like pilots, are real humans with human failings who hold our lives in their hands. Let’s join with Mr. Bromily in supporting common-sense safety and communications procedures to make medicine safer.
Medical devices, machines, and other products injure and kill thousands each year. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration maintains a list of recalled medical devices. In addition to those products on this list, though, there are many different products that are dangerous or worn-out that kill and injure people in health care settings.
The experienced attorneys at Hurley McKenna & Mertz have represented numerous clients who were injured or killed by medical devices. Oftentimes, these cases arise out of situations where medical malpractice has been committed. We have also represented clients who have been injured by medical products at work.
If you or someone you know has been injured by dangerous medical devices or medical products, please contact the experienced attorneys at Hurley McKenna & Mertz for a free consultation.
The Penn State sexual abuse scandal reminds us as trial lawyers that large institutions that deal with children do a terrible job of policing themselves when it comes to child sexual abuse. Institutions like the Catholic Church, and its Archdioceses in Chicago, Milwaukee and Boston, for example, have failed to respond to the problem of sexual abuse of children by priests, brothers and nuns honestly and firmly. Instead, the Catholic Church, like Joe Paterno and the Penn State administration, has responded to the abuse with excessive leniency, insensitivity, secrecy, and neglect.
New York Times columnist Frank Bruni recently addressed the parallels between the scandal at Penn State and the scandals involving large institutions such as the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America:
That has been true of the Boy Scouts, which has paid out tens of million of dollars in response to lawsuits by former scouts molested by adults who continued to work in the organization despite complaints or questions about their behavior.
That has been true of the Roman Catholic Church, whose diocesan heads and bishops repeatedly transferred abusive priests from one parish to another rather than report them to law enforcement authorities. This cover-up spanned decades and went all the way up the hierarchy of the church.
Many factors explain it, including a fear of scandal and desire to protect the church’s image. The Boy Scouts, too, didn’t want messiness exposed.
The truth in cases where large institutions hide sexual abuse is usually revealed only when experienced trial lawyers can use the power of the courts to force institutions like the Archdiocese of Chicago to open up their files on the histories of their abusive priests and brothers. Even if you or a loved one were sexually abused long ago, you may still be able to pursue claims against the religious organizations involved in the abuse. If you are a victim of sexual abuse or are inquiring on behalf of a friend or family member who has suffered a sexual assault, contact Hurley McKenna & Mertz immediately to confidentially discuss these claims.
Hurley McKenna & Mertz has won a $4.7 million verdict against St. James Hospital of Olympia Fields and one of its emergency department physicians on behalf of a 49 year-old woman, Georgia Tagalos, who suffered brain death in the hospital’s emergency department in 2006.
At trial, Christopher T. Hurley and Mark R. McKenna established that it took at least seven minutes for Mrs. Tagalos to be seen by an emergency department physician at St. James after she arrived grasping her throat and unable to speak due to a severe asthma attack. Once Mrs. Tagalos was finally seen, the defendant attending physician allowed the resident physician to make multiple intubation attempts without following the hospital’s written policy, which required physicians to administer fast-acting sedatives and paralyzing medications to the patient before intubation to prevent vomiting. As a result, Mrs. Tagalos began vomiting profusely when the resident physician attempted intubation, making any further intubation attempts more difficult.
Because Mrs. Tagalos was not receiving any oxygen for an extended period of time, she suffered brain death. She was removed from life support three days later. Mrs. Tagalos was survived by her son and her husband.
The Cook County Circuit Court jury reached its verdict after a week-long trial. The lawyers at Hurley McKenna & Mertz are proud to have attained justice for Mrs. Tagalos and her loving family. Hurley McKenna & Mertz and the Tagalos family hope that this verdict spurs changes at St. James Hospital that will prevent future deaths as a result of negligence.
The case was reported in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. To view the article, please click here.
Hurley McKenna & Mertz is pleased to announce the hiring of Brian J. Holmes as an associate attorney with the firm. Mr. Holmes joined the firm as a law clerk during his second year of law school. He continued to work at Hurley McKenna & Mertz throughout law school and was hired as an associate upon graduation.
As a law clerk, Mr. Holmes gained valuable experience working closely with the attorneys on all aspects of the firm’s cases. Mr. Holmes focuses his practice on all types of personal injury cases including nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, product liability, and construction accidents.
Mr. Holmes earned his Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law, where he was named to the Dean’s List and received the CALI Award for Excellence in Civil Litigation Strategy. He was admitted to the bar of the State of Illinois on October 31, 2013 and immediately began practicing at Hurley McKenna & Mertz.
Hurley McKenna & Mertz recently filed lawsuits in federal court on behalf of seven individuals who received defective Stryker hip implants. In July 2012, Stryker issued a voluntary worldwide recall of its Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implants. Studies have shown that these implants corrode over time, which causes bits of metal to leak into patients’ bodies, leading to major health complications.
One of the most common health problems associated with the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG II hip implants is metallosis. Metallosis is an adverse tissue reaction to heavy metals in the body that can cause limited mobility, failure of the hip joint, pseudotumors, and dissolution of the bone.
Many individuals who received the Rejuvenate or ABG II implant require painful revision surgery to remove the defective device. Revision surgery is a complicated procedure that leads to a long, painful recovery.
Hurley McKenna & Mertz strives to hold Stryker accountable for putting the Rejuvenate and ABG II implants on the market without properly testing the devices and without warning doctors and patients of the risks posed by these devices. If you believe you or a loved one may have received a defective Stryker hip implant contact Hurley McKenna & Mertz for a free consultation at 312-553-4900.
In 2007, Mark Stephan suffered catastrophic injuries when his front wheel unexpectedly disengaged from his bicycle. This crash paralyzed Mark from the neck down. Since then, Mark has refused to let this horrific injury hold him back. Mark has continuously shattered all expectations, achieving such feats as climbing 103 floors to the top of the Willis Tower and cycling 3,129 miles across the southern United States.
Unfortunately, Mark now must face another major obstacle due to a defectively designed product. Mark underwent a hip replacement procedure and received a Stryker Rejuvante hip implant in 2011. Last summer, Stryker issued a voluntary worldwide recall of its Rejuvenate and ABG hip implants. Studies have shown that these implants corrode over time, which causes bits of metal to release into patients’ bodies, leading to serious health complications.
Mark now faces the choice of going through painful and debilitating surgery to replace the defective implant, or leaving the implant in his body and risking potentially life-threatening health conditions.
Yesterday, HM&M filed suit against Stryker in the Circuit Court of Cook County on behalf of Mark. All of us at Hurley McKenna & Mertz are deeply inspired by Mark and are honored to represent him.
For more information on defective Stryker hip implants, please click here.