February 27, 2015

Mrs. T’s Pierogies Recalled Due to Plastic Contamination

by Levin & Perconti

A favorite aisle for many at our local supermarkets is the frozen food section. The frozen food section is notorious for people’s favorite snack foods like ice cream and frozen pizzas but also provides reliable staple foods like frozen vegetables so that people can have healthy foods with a long shelf life. However, even though frozen foods are not the same as the fresh picked fruits and vegetables of the produce section, stores and manufacturers still have a legal duty of care to provide safe goods to consumers.

A recent news release distributed by Ateeco, Inc., Mrs. T’s parent company, announced that Mrs. T’s Pierogies has issued a recall due to plastic contamination in the food. After a Quality Assurance check, plastic was found in the filling of the product. The product at issue, the 16-ounce tomato and basil variety, is recalled due to the plastic contamination which poses a choking hazard. These products were sold at various grocery stores in eight states, including Illinois. They contain “best by dates” of either 05/20/16 or 07/15/16.

Our lawyers believe that customers should be able to trust that the food they buy and eat should be safe for consumption. Unfortunately though, food is one of the most common categories of items arising under product recalls and product liability lawsuits. Under this area of law, it is the duty of a store and manufacturer to inspect their products for dangers, warn consumers of known dangers, and remove the dangerous items from the stream of commerce. Where unsafe products are available for purchase in the marketplace, this is evident of negligence and a breach of that duty of care owed to customers. If someone suffers injury or wrongful death as the result of this negligence and dangers that should have never existed in a product and made available to a customer, the injured party or family may file a product liability lawsuit to hold the wrongdoing and negligent parties accountable for their breach.

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February 23, 2015

Cook County Walmart Sued for Slip and Fall

by Levin & Perconti

Most of our readers are aware that Chicago has had a lot of snow this winter in a short period of time. With so much snowfall at once, our neighborhoods have a high accumulation of snow sitting on the ground surrounding our homes, businesses, and sidewalks. As the snow melts, sitting water can accumulate or even refreeze into ice. This can occur whether from weathering increase in temperature or when accumulated snow and water is brought inside stores from consumers.

Business owners have a legal duty to keep their patrons safe from hazards and dangers under premises liability law. As consumers who enter stores with the intention to potentially do business with a store, they have the ability to benefit the store through their purchases. This is why under tort law, customers are referred to as invitees and are afforded the highest protection on commercial premises. Landowners of these premises owe invitees a duty of care to inspect premises for dangers, warn of these dangers, and remedy these dangers as quickly as possible. Where an invitee suffers injury from a hazard on a business owner’s property, the injured person can hold the business and owner liable in a personal injury lawsuit.

According to a recent article by the Cook County Record, a customer has filed suit against a Cook County Walmart for a slip and fall accident suffered last January. The plaintiff claims that Walmart failed to maintain the store premises, which caused her to slip and fall over a weather mat. The victim filed suit a few weeks ago in Cook County Circuit Court against the Walmart at 167th Street in Country Club Hills. The plaintiff slipped and fell on wet weather mats, causing her injury. She argues that Walmart and its employees failed to maintain the premises by not ensuring the mats were in a reasonably safe condition and failed to warn her about the dangerous condition. She is seeking over $50,000 in damages.

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February 20, 2015

Chicago Family Sues Cook County Sheriff’s Office for Death of Inmate

by Levin & Perconti

Wrongful death lawsuits may be initiated where a death has been caused by the fault of another person, especially where the alleged wrongdoers owed a duty of care to the deceased and where the deceased was under their care and protection.

According to an article by the Chicago Sun-Times, the family of a Cook County jail inmate has filed suit against the sheriff’s office. The inmate was beaten to death last year by another inmate, and the family is arguing that this was caused by the jail’s dangerous conditions and that guards failed to take action. The victim and five other inmates had been staying in Cell 2107 in the jail’s medical facility at Cermak Hospital. All were receiving mental health treatment at the time. Even though six inmates were assigned to the cell, there were only four beds, so some detainees with mental illness had to sit, sleep, and lounge on the floor.

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February 16, 2015

Attorney Mike Bonamarte Discusses Sledding Accidents With Local News

by Levin & Perconti

Many Chicagoans dread winter for its bitter temperatures, slippery sidewalks, the need to bundle up extensively, and the dangerous roads and backed up traffic from inclement weather. However, to others, especially our youngest members of the community, winter can be a lot of fun and a time for recreation. As you may remember from your own childhood days, children look forward to snowfall for fun and play, especially for activities like building snowmen, snowball fights, and sledding.

While winter games and activities can be a lot of fun, people sometimes do not consider the dangers and legal consequences. Our attorneys make an effort to always keep on top of local issues and safety concerns, and to relay that knowledge back to our community. That is why the media recently turned to one of our attorneys to discuss the dangers and legal repercussions associated with sledding accidents.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Mike Bonamarte, discussed sledding accidents. In recent months many local governments, including those in Illinois, have banned sledding in public parks and properties due to the dangers and risk for injuries, such as when a child’s sled collides with a tree, street sign, hidden obstacle or vehicle on municipal property. However, the report notes that the City of Chicago is unlikely to join in on this ban and representatives continually echo the warning that sledding is at one’s own risk. Additionally, state immunity laws protect local governments from liability on most public property.

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February 13, 2015

Lawsuit Filed Surrounding Fatal Hit-and-Run Crash

by Levin & Perconti

Motor vehicle accidents are often a cause of serious personal injuries or even fatalities. However, these accidents are even worse when those to blame for the crashes do not take responsibility for their wrongdoing and flee the scene. Hit-and-run accidents are wrongful not only morally but under the law as well.

The Chicago Sun Times, reports that a wrongful death lawsuit was recently filed against a woman who is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for drunkenly crashing her van into a couple and killing them. The suit is seeking $50,000 in damages for the crash and alleging that the driver is the cause of the wrongful death. The suit argues that the driver failed to keep a proper lookout or sound a horn when the vehicle approached the couple.

The accident occurred almost two years ago on Chicago’s South Side. The couple was changing a tire in the 3800 block of West 87th Street when a van, which was traveling at 60 mph, crashed into them causing their deaths. The driver had a blood-alcohol level of .194, which is over twice the legal limit. One of the victims was knocked from his shoes and thrown 200 feet. In December 2013, the driver pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and leaving the scene of an accident. She also did not have a driver’s license.

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February 9, 2015

Attorney Marvet Sweis Interviewed About Chicago Slip and Fall Accidents

by Levin & Perconti

Our Chicago attorneys make it our priority to stay on top of important issues regarding the law and safety of our community and to educate the public on legal issues relevant to them in their daily lives. Recently, Fox News reached out to us to tackle questions related to snow and ice removal related to potential premises liability litigation.

Snowy and bitter cold winters come as no surprise to Chicagoans. Our city is notorious for its harsh winters and large accumulation of snow. With so much snow, residents have a duty to shovel their driveways and sidewalks to keep the snow cleared. What many residents may not consider though, are the legal considerations regarding snow removal and shoveling.

In the report featuring attorney Marvet Sweis from our office, MyFoxChicago discussed how residents risk getting a fine or getting sued for failing to remove snow and ice from their premises in a timely manner. Many people think not shoveling their sidewalks will save them from liability if someone slips and falls in front of their home. However, Ms. Sweis relayed that isn’t the case due in part to Illinois law. She explained how the law protects residents when they shovel their driveway and sidewalk because the law recognizes that people want to be able to get in and out of their own property. Instead, homeowners can be sued only where negligent.

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February 5, 2015

Pedestrian Files Lawsuit Against City of Chicago Following Fall at Crosswalk

by Levin & Perconti

One of the things Chicagoans joke about most is the two seasons in the city: winter and construction. Aside from our cold and brutal winters, it seems that the streets and sidewalks are always under repairs of some sorts. However, when people look at this joke more deeply, they realize that there is a safety and legal issue present. If sidewalks and streets are not in good condition, they can pose a hazard to the safety of pedestrians in the city.

One recent case exemplifies just that. According to the Cook County Record, a pedestrian has brought suit against the City of Chicago over a fall she suffered when walking in an intersection in the Near North Side neighborhood. According to the pedestrian’s complaint, she was walking through the crosswalk at the intersection of North Wabash Avenue and Huron Street last spring when she tripped and fell on uneven ground. She argues that the city negligently failed to repair the uneven section of the crosswalk because it was cracked and broken. By allowing it to remain in a dangerous condition and by not warning the pedestrians of its existence, she asserts this caused her fall.

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January 27, 2015

Queso Fresco Cheese Linked to Listeria Outbreak

by Levin & Perconti

It is easily agreed upon that the food we eat should be safe for consumption. When we purchase food from the store, we should never have to fear that it will cause us serious illness or death. It is not only something we should be able to trust, but it is also the law to provide safe-to-eat foods to consumers.

According to an article by Food Safety News, there has been an ongoing outbreak of listeria infections linked to Latin-style soft cheese produced by Queseria Bendita. Since mid-January there have been three cases of listeria. Two people required hospitalization, and there was one death. As of now, the firm has stopped producing cheese. The cheeses at issue are Queso Fresco, Panela, and Requeson. Any consumers who have this cheese at home in their refrigerators are ordered to throw it out and not eat it. Grocery stores have been directed to pull the product off the shelves and not sell it.

This is not the first time this firm has had to make a recall for listeria. According to the same article, Queseria Bendita recalled these same three cheeses five years ago for listeria contamination. This instance also caused several cases of illness.

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January 26, 2015

Midwest Area Beef Recalled Due to Misbranding and Undeclared Allergens

by Levin & Perconti

Every week, millions of people go to local grocers and supermarkets to buy foods and goods for their week ahead. Among the most popular of foods are meat products, such as beef, poultry, and fish. However, while these are among the most popular for being an excellent source of nutrition and protein, they are also some that require the most diligence to care and safety by producers and sellers. It is a common fact that when meat is not properly handled that such negligence can result in a contaminated product that is unsafe for consumption.

However, consumers trust that producers and sellers inspect and produce meat with adequate care. As consumers, we also expect that when such care is used, dangers can be discovered and that dangerous or contaminated meat will not reach store shelves and that we will not inadvertently purchase a product that is dangerous, unknowing to us.

Producers and sellers must notify consumers when they have thoroughly inspected a product, but know that a danger still exists but can be eradicated through properly handling. This is most often done through proper labeling and warnings. For instance, when you purchase a package of chicken from the grocery store, you notice that the labeling on the meat warns you about salmonella, how to properly handle raw meat, to wash hands and utensils that hand handled the meat, and to what temperatures it should be cooked to avoid foodborne illnesses. This labeling and warning is done as part of a seller’s duty of care under product liability law to warn consumers of known dangers.

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January 20, 2015

Ikea Recalls Crib Mattresses Due to Entrapment Dangers

by Levin & Perconti

One of the most exciting times for families is preparing for the arrival of a newborn baby. Welcoming a little one into the home is a very important time for families because they are getting a new family member to love and take care of. Before the arrival of the baby, families go through a lot of organization and preparation to make everything is ready for when the baby is born. This can often include redoing a room into a nursery and purchasing furniture to suit the baby’s needs, such as a changing table, rocking chair, and crib. Families go through a lot of hard work to make sure that the infant will be cared for and protected, so it can be healthy and grow.

What should parents do when the items they have purchased to make their baby’s life better, are in fact dangerous and can cause injury? A recent recall covers just that issue. According to a recent article by the The Leaf Chronicle, there is a recall of Ikea crib mattresses. The reason for this recall is the potential for an entrapment hazard to infants. The crib mattresses consisted of the Vackert, Vinka, Spelevink, Sloa, and Slummer models. They were made on May 4, 2014 or earlier, and a consumer can verify if they have one of these mattresses by referring to the label attached to the mattress bearing the manufacturing date and model name. The problem lies in the fact that the gap between the mattress and crib is larger than two finger widths, which is larger than allowed by federal regulations. There have been two reports of infants who were entrapped between the mattress and the end of the crib.

Instances like this show why product liability litigation is such an important part of the law. Consumers deserve to trust that the products they are buying are suited for their purpose and free from danger. This is especially alarming because this dangerous product at issue concerns the lives of defenseless infants who are so new to the world that there is no way to comprehend they are in any sort of danger. They rely solely on their families and caregivers, who have trusted that the products they purchase for their babies are safe.

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January 9, 2015

Medical Malpractice Suit Filed against University of Illinois Medical Center

by Levin & Perconti

Many of us know how scary it is to be sick or injured and not understand what is wrong, how to fix your ailment, and if it can be remedied at all. That is why we turn to medical experts who can help us heal through surgery, treatment, therapy, and the correct medications. However, when these medical professionals make mistakes through carelessness or a misjudgment where they should have known better, patients can suffer or be in a worse state as a result.

According to a recent article by the Cook County Record a mother has filed suit against the University of Illinois for failure to timely diagnose and treat her son’s MRSA infection. She alleges that through the failure of the medical staff, her son was not timely diagnosed and treated for an MRSA infection and necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria. She alleges that as a result of this failure in time, her son has suffered permanent and disfiguring injuries that he would not have otherwise suffered except for their negligence. In her suit the mother seeks damages and medical costs.

As a patient, healthcare providers, such as doctors and nurses, owe you a legal duty of care when you are receiving medical treatment. Because you are relying on their medical experience and knowledge, you are vulnerable by placing your trust and well-being in their hands. That is why it is the duty of healthcare providers to act with the utmost care. Where they fail to diagnose or cause you further injury or illness, a court may find them liable for medical malpractice.

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January 2, 2015

BMW Expands Air Bag Recall

by Levin & Perconti

Reports of present dangers in our vehicles and recalls from major manufacturers have been frequent in the news as of lately. A variety of parts have been reported as faulty or in need of recall for posing a danger to the driver and passengers. According to a recent report by NBC Chicago, BMW has joined other automakers in a recall. The automobile manufacturer has announced an expansion of its air bag recall. After demands from the U.S. government, BMW has agreed to replace the driver’s side air bags. The decision to do this recall affects 140,000 BMW 3 Series cars that were made between January 2004 and August 2006. Earlier in the year, the company also took 574,000 cars off of the market in the United States.

According to the same article, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been urging companies to recall their older cars with air bag inflators made by Takata Corp. These air bags can explode with too much force and then spew shrapnel at drivers and passengers. There have been at least five deaths due to Takata air bag inflators. In total across all automakers, 15 million vehicles have been recalled in the United States. Initially, recalls were only done in states with high humidity because the air bag inflator propellant could burn faster than designed when exposed to prolonged airborne moisture. What that occurred, the propellant would blow apart a metal canister meant to contain the explosion.

Furthermore, the article explains that Takata has refused a request for a nationwide recall of driver’s side inflators, which are about 8 million in total. There are 10 automakers in total that use Takata driver and passenger air bags. There could be as many as 30 million vehicles nationwide with these air bags.

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