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Posted on in Sexual Abuse Litigation

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.


Posted on in Medical Malpractice

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, P.C. 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, P.C. 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.



A Chicago jury has awarded $4.7 million to the family of a 49 year old woman who died at St. James Hospital in suburban Chicago after she suffered a severe asthma attack.  The case alleged emergency room errors and wrongful death in a 2 week-long medical malpractice trial.

The patient arrived in the emergency room in respiratory distress which is an emergency condition requiring immediate treatment.  It took emergency room doctors more that 26 minutes to secure the patient's airway.  By then she went into cardaic arrest and suffered brain death.

HM&M St. JamesHurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. 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.


Brian J. HolmesHurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. 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, P.C. 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, P.C..


Mark Stephan, who has fought to recover from a devastating 2007 bicycle accident, has filed a complaint against Stryker Orthopedic, the manufacturer of the artificial hip he received in 2011.  The complaint filed on September 10th states that the defective device is damaging the soft tissue in his body, and that Stephan has been advised to undergo a “painful hip revision surgery,” due to the faulty replacement.

Stephan advises anyone else in his position to seek “outstanding legal counsel.” He remains undecided of what to do with the hip replacement currently in his body.

Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. 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.


NBC TV interviews Chris Hurley and Mark Stephan about Stryker Defective Hip Lawsuit from Christopher Hurley on Vimeo.

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.



A man with a hip implant who made national news for climbing the stairs of the Willis Tower is facing another health crisis -- a defective artificial hip. Mark Stephan wasn't even expected to walk again after a 2007 bike accident severed his spine.

"What makes me angry is to see him fight so hard over the years and put back in this situation by a company that made millions of dollars selling a product to people that hasn't been vetted," Hurley said.

Last week, Penn State reached settlement agreements with seven men who were sexually abused by the school's former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky was convicted last June on 45 counts of child sex abuse and sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. Penn State has reportedly set aside $60 million to settle claims related to Sandusky's abuse.

I am pleased to see that Sandusky's victims are receiving compensation from Penn State, but no amount of money can fully make up for years of incompetence and malfeasance at Penn State. Penn State provided Sandusky with a platform, authority, power and, most importantly, access to young children that enabled him to groom and then sexually abuse numerous young boys. Worse yet, leaders at Penn State failed to act when confronted with overwhelming evidence that Sandusky was a predatory pedophile. This failure to act led to the abuse of countless innocent young boys.

The Penn State sexual abuse scandal reveals a pattern of conduct that the trial lawyers at Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. are well acquainted with—a man in a position of power at a loved and respected institution uses his position to abuse children, and the officers of the institution not only refuse to stop the evil conduct, but actively work to protect the abuser. In our experience, that same pattern has consistently played out when we investigate allegations of sexual abuse by priests and brothers affiliated with the Catholic Church and troop leaders in the Boy Scouts.


In the decades since convicted pedophile and former south suburban scoutmaster Thomas Hacker went to prison, no one had ever questioned him about what he calls his addiction to young boys or his crimes. That is, until three weeks ago, when Christopher T. Hurley went down to lawyers handling the civil lawsuit against the Boy Scouts had their first chance to question him. They talked for over four hours, and the stories were chilling.

Hacker described using his position as a volunteer scoutmaster to gain a boy's trust, and then as he says, groom them for abuse.

"You know, psychological manipulation," he said. He became more than a friend. "Confidante, builder upper, whatever you want to call it, esteem builder; a lot of grooming techniques there; let them feel comfortable with you."



By the time Thomas Hacker re-entered the Chicago-area Boy Scouts as a merit badge counselor, committee chairman and de facto scoutmaster in 1984, he was followed by a trail of sexual assault and battery convictions, as well as accusations of molesting young boys.

“You trust your pastors, priests, Boy Scout leaders, teachers, park district executives, on the assumption that they had the children’s best interests at heart,” Christopher Hurley, the plaintiffs’ Chicago attorney said. “What these institutions have known all along, especially the Catholic Church and Boy Scouts, is that pedophiles use these institutions as a way to get access to children."


Former colleagues, scouts and youth baseball league players recount the missed cues of the Boy Scouts' most prolific serial pedophile.

“I found him odd, just the way he presented himself,” Olsen said. “Just hearing the name gives me chills. Even talking about it right now I get a little angry.”

“You trust your pastors, priests, Boy Scout leaders, teachers, park district executives, on the assumption that they had the children’s best interests at heart,” Christopher Hurley, the plaintiffs’ Chicago attorney said. “What these institutions have known all along, especially the Catholic Church and Boy Scouts, is that pedophiles use these institutions as a way to get access to children.


Chris Hurley, lawyer for 15 men who were sexually molested by serial pedophile Thomas Hacker, was interviewed by CBS TV news.

Hurley told the reporter that, like earlier scandals in the Roman Catholic Church and at Penn State University, the Boy Scouts of America did nothing to stop Hacker.

"The ultimate sort of insult that's occurred is they find out now that the scouts knew about [Hacker's previous attacks] long before it happened," said Hurley.


Christopher Hurley appeared on CBS Chicago Channel 2 to announce that he was filing a lawsuit agaginst the Boy Scouts of America on behalf of sixteen former Boy Scouts from the Chicago area molested by their scout leader, Thomas Hacker.

In the interview Christopher Hurley described the former scout leader, Thomas Hacker, as "the worst pedophile in United States history."  Hacker was allowed to join the Boy Scouts despite having already been convicted three times for sexual abuse.  

"The ultimate insult now is that they found out that the Scouts knew about it long before it happened," said Chris Hurley. 


"These victims, and their parents, placed their trust and confidence in the Boy Scouts, and the Scouts let them down," attorney Chris Hurley said in a statement. "When abuse was reported, BSA turned its back and not only ignored the victims, but continued to let Hacker snake through the system."

Documents show that Boy Scouts had a confidential file on Hacker in 1970 based on reports that he'd been arrested in Indiana for sexually assaulting boys in scouting and at a school where he taught. The arrest led to a felony conviction, yet Hacker resurfaced as a scoutmaster in the Chicago suburbs in 1971 and by the end of that year had been arrested again.

Hurley said Hacker moved from council to council over two decades.


Christopher T. Hurley, managing partner of Chicago-based firm Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C., discussed how the doctrine of fraudulent concealment essentially resets the statute of limitations and gives plaintiffs five years to file suit once they discover that information was covered up by a potentially liable party. “The only defense is that they waited too long to bring the suit,” he says. “Our response to that is, you were in a position of trust for these boys and you have a duty under the law to tell them the truth.”

The smoking gun, as it were, came when the BSA was forced by a judge last fall to release its “perversion files” in which it kept records of men who were considered ineligible to volunteer due to various sexual offenses. Hacker made the list, with good cause. The BSA, however, falsely claimed that they did not have a file on him when he was on trial in 1989, among other omissions, coverups and acts of negligence.

“They knew for more than 10 years he was a convicted child molester and they let him in the troop anyway,” Hurley says.



Former scouts from St. Louis de Montfort's troubled Troop 1600 claim they were sexually assaulted by convicted pedophile, Thomas Hacker, during the 1980s.

Representing the plaintiffs are Chicago attorneys Christopher Hurley and Evan Smola.

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