Articles Posted in Injuries to Minors and Children

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illinois injury lawyer

2018 Report Shows Nearly 100 Children Died While Involved in Illinois Welfare System

Each year, the Office of the Inspector General investigates deaths and serious injuries of Illinois children whose families were involved in the child welfare system. The Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) Office has released a report by Acting Inspector General Meryl Paniak stating 98 children involved with the child welfare agency died in fiscal year 2018. The deaths were investigated between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018. No names or exact locations were used in the report but Cook County was home to the highest number of deceased children connected to the system compared to the rest of the state.

Paniak expressed concern in a letter to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration and the General Assembly saying, “The incidence of child maltreatment is deeply influenced by poverty, violence, mental health and substance use. System-wide collaboration and data-sharing across multiple service sectors—child welfare, juvenile justice, early childhood, education, public health, and behavioral and mental health fields—are essential to improving child and family safety and well-being on a broad scale.”

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As part of a weeklong series, the personal injury attorneys of Chicago’s Levin & Perconti have been highlighting the list of companies named by the American Association for Justice (AAJ) as having the “Worst Corporate Conduct of 2018.” These companies have each engaged in behaviors that have emotionally and physically harmed patients, clients, customers, employees, and young female student athletes.

Today, we’re focusing on the alleged human rights violations committed by Nestlé USA.

A group of former child slaves are forcing Nestlé USA to acknowledge and make amends for their role in not only allowing, but allegedly encouraging child slavery at cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast of Africa. The Ivory Coast, or the Côte d’Ivoire, supplies the majority of the nation’s cocoa and is known for allowing child labor in order to sell mass amounts of cheap cocoa to the world’s chocolate manufacturers.

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abuse and neglect attorneys

Minors Languish Inside Illinois’ Largest Immigrant Detainee Home

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported that agents detained a total of 5,283 children who weren’t accompanied by a parent in November of 2018. Ad in December of 2018, two immigrant children died on separate occasions in just over two weeks which created strong scrutiny of U.S. authorities held responsible for their care. For more than 20 years, Chicago has been the temporary home to many migrant children who have been detained after entering the U.S. Some of these young immigrants either crossed the border alone or as we have come to know most recently, taken from their immigrant parents and placed into the custody of the CBP and then overseen by the U.S. Health and Human Services department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement.

The largest caretaker or shelter agency for these children in Illinois is a 130-year-old nonprofit organization branded with the name Heartland. Employees from multiple Heartland agencies have been reported saying immigrant children are in fact neglected or abused due to insufficient shelter care staff and oversight of the agency, similar to the everyday problems today’s elderly face while living in understaffed nursing homes.

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talcum powder risk

New Evidence Shows Johnson & Johnson Execs Likely Knew Talc Found in Baby Powder Was Not Safe

For decades, claims of cancer-causing talc found in popular American household brand Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder have stayed alive through more than 11,700 plaintiffs and hundreds of personal injury reviews, successful lawsuits, and dozens of intense investigative reports. Most recently, under the close watch of a Reuters published review, thousands of court released internal and confidential documents uncover the company’s knowingly talc and asbestos risk could have been responsible for causing horrible diseases, such as ovarian cancer. Worse, it’s believed many Johnson & Johnson executives and scientists may have known about the issue since the early 1970s and chose to do nothing about it.

Within the Reuters review of these now unshielded Johnson & Johnson documents, as well as trial testimony and scientific research reviews, several conclusions were made as noted by Reuters in a December 14, 2018 NBC news special report.

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halloween safety

Trick-or-Treat: The Scary Truth About Halloween Injuries

Many Halloween traditions involve pumpkins, apple cider, and even a scary hayride, but we are going to bet there will be some neighborhood trick-or-treating involved too. And for the more than 41.1 million trick-or-treaters, the majority children ages 5 to 14, who hit U.S. doorsteps in 2017 requesting a Halloween treat, many injuries followed. This year, the attorneys at Levin & Perconti, especially those with young families of their own including Mike Bonamarte, Margaret Battersby Black, Marvet Sweis Drnovsek, Colleen Mixan Mikaitis, AJ Thut, Jaime Koziol Delaney, and Pam Dimo thought it would be helpful to share a few easy ways our blog readers can protect children from injury while trick-or-treating this Halloween night.

  1. Be Seen
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In an audit released late last month, the inspector general for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported that a southern Illinois housing authority failed to test for and safely remedy lead-based paint, while also allowing residents to live in units with little heat, and mold, rat, and roach infestations. The agency’s own investigative division also said that HUD has been aware of the problems since 2010 and failed to intervene for fear of bringing unwanted attention upon themselves.

With 109 housing authorities in the state of Illinois and HUD’s own inspector general calling out their inadequacy, many are wondering whom else the agency is failing to protect.

Housing Authority Discriminated Against Black Residents, Employees

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“If you don’t have enough staff to take care of the kids, that’s negligence.”

-Casa Guadalupe employee speaking to ProPublica for Records Reveal “Lax” Supervision, Sexual Activity at Chicago-Area Shelters Housing Immigrant Children

Following on the heels of news that an HIV-positive employee at a youth immigrant shelter in Mesa, Arizona has been charged with 11 counts of sexual misconduct against minors, comes a report of similar offenses within Chicago-area facilities.

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A 3-year-old boy and his parents were awarded $1.6 million after suing the apartment complex’s owner and  management company for failing to take care of a bedbug infestation that left their son with lifelong facial scars.

After moving into a California apartment, the boy’s mother noticed red spots all over his body and took him to the emergency room. The ER diagnosed the spots as bedbug bites. Soon after, the boy’s mother, Liliana Martinez, noticed both bedbugs and cockroaches in the family’s apartment, as well as bedbug bites all over her newborn daughter’s back.

Right after the diagnosis and discovery of bedbugs, Mrs. Martinez and her husband contacted the apartment’s management company, who sent a pest control company. They also advised the family to throw away all of their furniture. The family followed the company’s directive and were then forced to sleep on a spot of floor while chemicals covered their home. Ridding the home of their furniture and spraying for bugs did little to deter the notoriously stubborn pests, and the family continued to experience bites. The family repeatedly complained and after 4 months, the management company took out old carpeting and replaced it with new carpet. After ridding the home of the carpeting, the bedbug bites finally stopped.

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Popular stroller maker Britax was sued on February 16th by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for failure to issue a recall of models of their B.O.B. jogging strollers that have been reported to cause injuries to both adults and children. According to claims by owners, the front wheel of the 3 wheel strollers is unable to be properly secured to the frame, causing the wheel to become lodged in the ground and the stroller to tip over. The CPSC complaint cites 200 consumer complaints involving a B.O.B. stroller’s front wheel since January 2012, resulting in injuries to at least 50 children and 47 adults.

According to the consumer complaints, B.O.B. jogging strollers have caused the injuries described below.

Infant/Child Injuries

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Ikea, the Swedish home retail giant, has agreed to pay $50 million to 3 families whose children were killed after being crushed by toppled dressers. To these families, money will never be able to replace what they have lost, but the settlement is expected to send a strong message to legislators and furniture manufacturers that parents are demanding better quality, safer furniture.

An Unsettling Statistic

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, a child dies once every 2 weeks from falling furniture or televisions. While there is no federal law requiring specific safety measures be followed in furniture production, there are voluntary national safety standards that manufacturers should follow. According to the lawsuit filed by the victims’ families, Ikea consistently refused to meet those standards and their negligence directly resulted in the death of 3 children, each 2 years old.