Pedestrian - Punitive Damages Against Cab Company for Negligent Entrustment

Margaret Baumrucker v Express Cab Dispatch Inc., Luis Leal 12L-6839 Tried May 8-12, 2015
Verdict:  $897,741: $397,741 compensatory damages ($150,000 pain & suffering; $150,000 loss of normal life; $25,641 past medical expenses; $50,000 future medical expenses; $22,100 lost wages) plus $500,000 punitive damages. Special Interrogatory: Did Express Cab Dispatch Inc. act willfully and wantonly when it entrusted the vehicle to Luis Leal? "Yes."
Judge:  Michael R. Panter (IL Cook-Law)
Pltf Atty(s):  Joseph P. Shannon and Patrick D. Cummings of Shannon Law Group (Woodridge) DEMAND: $250,000 policy  ASKED: $1,900,000
Deft Atty(s):  Robert Schey and John E. Broussard of Robert Schey & Associates (Northbrook) for both defts (First Chicago Insurance) OFFER: $110,000
Pltf Medl:  Dr. Samuel J. Chmell (Orthopedist)
Pltf Expert(s):  Andrew Sievers (Transportation Safety)
 
October 17, 2011, pltf was walking to work when defts' taxicab stuck her in a crosswalk at the intersection of Oak Park Ave. and Windsor Ave. in Berwyn. Pltf F-60, a psychiatric nurse, sustained rotator cuff tendinopathy and glenoid labral tear/shredding in her left shoulder (unoperated), which will require periodic physical therapy treatment for the rest of her life ($25,641 medical expenses, $22,100 LT 13 weeks, now retired). Pltf asserted deft cab company was willful and wanton in its failure to properly vet deft Leal before hiring him as a taxi driver, including failure to check his prior driving record and investigate his employment background; they also failed to provide any training after hiring him. Leal started working for Express just a couple weeks prior to the occurrence and he reportedly had a poor driving record. The defense admitted negligence, but denied willful/wanton misconduct and denied pltf was permanently injured.
 
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