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           New reporting reveals that over 1,000 cases of sex abuse by priests associated with the Archdiocese of Chicago have been reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services [DCFS] since 2006.  Twenty-four new investigations have been launched in response to concerns that those cases were not properly investigated by DCFS.

           In 2006, DCFS implemented a policy that required the Archdiocese of Chicago to report suspected cases of sexual abuse involving its priests and employees. The need for this policy arose from the horrific crimes of the notorious Father Daniel McCormack and other priests who sexually abused thousands of children in the Chicago area. (Cherney, 2019).

          This 2006 program was designed to:

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        Ossification of the Posterior Longitudinal Ligament (OPLL) is a relatively common but often overlooked and misdiagnosed condition that can occurs when a ligament that runs along the spinal column, in from of the spinal cord, becomes thicker and bony [“ossifies”].  This usually occurs as we age.

            If you have these symptoms, you may have OPLL:

  • Pain, tingling, or numbness in the neck, shoulder, arm, or hand
  • Difficulty walking and leg weakness
  • Difficulty with bowel and bladder control

             OPLL exists in up to 25% of the U.S. population of individuals suffering neurologic issues that impact the neck, arms, hands and legs. Neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons—the physicians who treat spine and spinal cord problems—often overlook and misdiagnose the symptoms of OPLL, due to inexperience or failure to order proper testing in patients with the above neurologic symptoms.

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     A recent report regarding medical malpractice in the U.S. estimated that diagnostic errors by physicians and hospitals resulted in “serious permanent damage” or “immediate or inevitable  death” in up to 4 million Americans annually. (Newman-Toker, 2019, p. 227).  These errors include:

  • Failure of physicians to properly diagnose medical conditions
  • Miscommunication between medical personnel and between physicians and patients; and
  • Failure of physicians, nurses and hospital technicians to accurately communicate test results.

    The three most common conditions that physicians and hospitals misdiagnose are:

  • Vascular events [i.e., strokes, brain bleeding, internal bleeding and hemorrhage];
  • Infections; and
  • Cancers

    These conditions are known as the “Big Three” and are responsible for nearly 75% of serious misdiagnosis-related harms in the United States. (Newman-Toker, 2019, p. 238). 

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       A recent report regarding medical malpractice in the U.S. estimated that diagnostic errors by physicians and hospital employees resulted in “serious permanent damage” or “immediate or inevitable death” in up to 4 million Americans annually. (Newman-Toker, 2019, p. 227).

      A recent study showed who is most likely to be affected

  • Average age: 49
  • Female: 51%

       The three most commonly misdiagnosed diseases, which represent 75% of the serious misdiagnosis-related harms, are:

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Boy Scouts could be hit with more sex abuse claims.

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“Thousands of “perversion” or “ineligible volunteer” files kept secret by the Boy Scouts for decades sit ready for trial in the offices of Hurley McKenna and Mertz.”

Willowbrook Plant Sterigenics Releasing Cancer-Causing Gas

Last Tuesday, a bipartisan lawsuit was filed urging the state to shut down Sterigenics, a plant located in the western Chicago suburb of Willowbrook, because it is violating laws and harming residents. Attorney Lisa Madigan and DuPage County’s State Attorney Robert Berlin have insisted that the plant be closed or the emissions limits should be enforced. 

 

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Posted on in Personal Injury

President Donald Trump continues to provide false information to Americans regarding preexisting conditions related to health coverage. 

 

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Christopher T. Hurley Selected for Plaintiff Attorney Achievement Award

b2ap3_thumbnail_image_166_20181022-163906_1.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_image_167_20181022-163908_1.JPGOn October 11th, the annual reception and awards for Trial Lawyer Excellence was hosted by the Jury Verdict Reporter, a division of the Chicago-based Law Bulletin. In attendance were more than 300 Illinois judges and trial attorneys and forty-five professionals received individual awards. 

 

Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. in Chicago is excited to announce that Attorney Christopher T. Hurley was awarded for Trial Lawyer Excellence by being selected as the recipient of the Plaintiff Attorney Achievement Award

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b2ap3_thumbnail_MRI-Image.jpgAs recently discussed in The Boston Globe, new research confirms the deadly toll of medical errors in the United States.  After heart disease and cancer, mistakes by medical providers are the third-leading cause of death in the US, claiming over 251,000 lives every year, according to a study published in 2016 in the journal BMJ.

While hospitals have taken steps to try to reduce mistakes, physician failure to diagnose conditions, misdiagnosis of conditions, miscommunication and the failure to accurately communicate test results continue to result in needless suffering and death of patients in America.  The risk of mistakes is greatest in situations where the physician never meets the patient and doesn’t know the patient. 

Victims of medical mistakes can include physician patients—HM&M represents several physicians injured due to medical malpractice – as well as lawyers who know about what can go wrong in a hospital.  One such victim is our friend Michael Mone of Boston, a top trial lawyer who has spent his life representing victims of medical malpractice. 

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Posted on in Wrongful Death

b2ap3_thumbnail_gunman.jpgThe attorneys at HMM have dedicated their lives to obtaining justice for victims of violence.  However, the NRA is actively involved in preventing any meaningful change in the law to protect Americans from gun violence.  The NRA’s advocacy of unlimited gun ownership in America contributes to a culture of violence that places all of us—and especially our children—at tremendous risk.

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Christopher T. Hurley joins the ranks of America's Top 100 Attorneys

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The Bellevue Reporter released an article this week about the $20M verdict against Paccar Inc.—The truck manufacturer based in Bellevue, Washington. See the full article here

.b2ap3_thumbnail_2000-kenworth-t800-wrecker-tow-truck-trucks-in-new-hampton-ia.jpgOn Jan. 23, 2012, Hurley McKenna & Mertz client, Quentin Ravizza was driving a 1997 Kenworth T-800 tow truck in a southwest suburb of Chicago. After detecting a mechanical error, he pulled over to assess the problem. While looking under the hood, a gust of wind slammed the hood closed, with the force of almost 1,000 pounds. It fell directly onto Mr. Ravizza’s head. He suffered severe facial fractures and the loss of his right eye.

The Hurley, McKenna & Mertz team proved that PACCAR, Inc. was negligent in its design and manufacture of the 1997 Kenworth T-800 truck because there was no adequate safety feature to prevent an unintended closure of the hood. But HM&M didn’t stop at poor design. The team presented damning evidence that PACCAR headquarters knew of similar life-threatening incidents dating back to the 1980’s, and still chose to do nothing about it.

Back in 1991 a Conoco driver, Greg Ragle, observed the involuntary hood-closure as a serious safety issue and invented a solution. He designed and produced an easily installable safety bar to hold the hood open. The invention reached PACCAR’s chief engineer, and he assured Ragle that the design had merit and would be installed on Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks in the future.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_att-chris.jpgNobody likes taxes— but everyone wants a qualified air traffic controller.

At tax time we complain. But it’s important to remember why we pay taxes. We want our garbage hauled away. We want the fi re department and the police nearby. We hate potholes. We want clean water, fresh air, and beautiful parks. We want someone to make sure the medicines we use are safe. We want qualified air traffic controllers. We know these things are not free, but we still complain about taxes.

The State of Oklahoma just passed a “loser pays” rule for all civil suits. This is how it happened: there was a bill with strong bi-partisan support to establish a statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases. Then at the last minute, an amendment was tacked on which requires the court to award costs and attorney’s fees to the prevailing party in ALL civil suits -- not just sexual abuse cases. There was no committee discussion of this amendment – no floor debate – it passed 44-0 in the Senate and 92-2 in the house. Then the bill was quickly signed by the Oklahoma governor. And now the people of Oklahoma have something rich people and corporations have wanted for a long time. Now in Oklahoma, the courts belong to the rich.

Imagine that your neighbor is Bill Gates and he decides to build an addition onto his big house. Imagine that his contractor excavates in a way that undermines your foundation and causes damage to your home that will cost $500,000 to repair. Would you sue him? In Illinois, you would. Not in Oklahoma. With his $87 billion net worth, Bill Gates can lose $500,000 in his sock drawer. If he loses the case and pays you and your lawyer - so what? It might just amuse him to hire some high-priced law firm to see if he can win and bankrupt you in the process. Maybe he has been wanting to tear down your house anyway? With loser pays, rich guys win - the rest of us don’t even get to play.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Chicago-medical-malpractice-attorneys.jpgExperiencing a medical error can be frightening. It might delay your recovery and take a toll on your body. A lesser-known consequence is the trust you may lose in your doctor. Experiencing a medical error is bound to make a patient feel violated and unheard. While navigating the complex seas of finding a new health care provider, allow your past to inform you decision. Look for a doctor that listens to what you and your body have been through.

If you are wary about finding a new physician because of a prior bad experience, try out these tips:

 

1). Have someone accompany you to the appointment

Having a partner or friend join you on a visit to a new doctor can make you feel more comfortable, and that person can serve as another set of eyes and ears.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_att-chris.jpgSometimes it is hard to know what ITLA is doing for you. Most of it goes on in Springfield and out of our view. But it involves knowing who is doing what to take away the rights of injured people and making sure we are there to bring the fight.

On Wednesday I testified in Springfield in front of the House Judiciary Committee. The topic was the “Public Duty Rule.” This rule is a holdover from the common law which has been the source of much confusion since the passage of the tort immunity act in 1965. The Public Duty Rule is this: local governments have no duty to provide services to any individual but only to the public as a whole. This rule is a form of sovereign immunity which originated in England and essentially means that the King is not liable no matter what he does to you. Sovereign immunity was eliminated by the 1970 Illinois Constitution with the caveat that the legislature can pass laws granting immunities. That was done previously with the Tort Immunity Act in 1965.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Screen-Shot-2017-03-17-at-3.30.32-PM.pngSexual Harassment in the workplace is unequivocally common. So when it happens, the victim should seek justice in court. That is every citizen’s right according to the Seventh Amendment.

However, countless employers include an “Arbitration Clause” in employee contracts. It’s an inconspicuous disclaimer that most people are unaware of. This clause essentially requires employees to waive their right to sue in the event of harassment or discrimination. “Arbitration” is just another word for mediation-- In which the company pulls aside the victim and the perpetrator to try and settle the dispute internally. That way, the company gets off scot-free. The employer doesn’t have to worry about a public lawsuit, about firing the guilty party, or about making sure in-office harassment doesn’t continue. The system is a pretty transparent. It allows the company to save it’s own skin. But the bottom line is, the clause doesn’t protect victims, it silences them.

In her recent essay, Gretchen Carlson wrote, “According to the National Employment Lawyers Association, in 2010 36 million employees — or roughly a third of the non-union workforce — were subject to mandatory arbitration for workplace disputes.” It’s been proven that employees lose in arbitration meetings far more often than they do in litigation trials. The win rate for employees in arbitration is only 21.4 percent, according to Alexander Colvin’s study. “An Empirical Study of Employment Arbitration: Case Outcomes and Processes”.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_att-chris.jpgThe following letter to the editor by ITLA President Christopher T. Hurley appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times on February 23, 2017.

In his budget address, Gov. Bruce Rauner said Illinois should emulate Massachusetts workers’ compensation system. However, following its lead would come at a great cost to our state’s taxpayers. Massachusetts doctors who care for those injured on the job are the lowest paid in the nation, which raises concerns about access to quality care.

If Illinois cuts the rate doctors are compensated to treat injured workers to match Massachusetts’ levels, a patient’s choice of physicians will be seriously limited and wait times for treatment are sure to rise significantly.

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The following is a statement released by Richard Burbidge, President of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

The International Academy of Trial Lawyers expressly and unequivocally condemns attacks on the independence of our judiciary and the Rule of Law, two cornerstones of our democracy.  Judges are ethically prevented from making public remarks about cases pending before them and must rely upon others to protect the judiciary from inappropriate and disrespectful criticism.  Lawyers have a special responsibility in defending the Rule of Law and the independence of our judiciary, and the protection and defense of those principles are integral to this Academy and its work.  

The recent attack upon United States District Court Judge James Robart shows disrespect for our judiciary, the Rule of Law, and a system which has existed for almost 250 years.  Judge Robart is not a “so-called judge.” Judge Robart, nominated by then-President George W. Bush, was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2004 and has served our nation since his confirmation.  Like the President of the United States, Judge Robart is entitled to the respect afforded a person in his position and the mutual respect upon which our government was founded.

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The following letter to the editor by ITLA President Christopher T. Hurley appeared in Crain's Chicago Business on December 5, 2016.

Gov. Bruce Rauner disingenuously claims that he’d like a balanced approach to improving workers’ compensation (“Bruce Rauner: My case for workers’ comp reform”), but demands that workers, especially those nearing retirement age, bear the financial brunt of his proposed changes.

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