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Chicago Trial AttorneysBy: Eddie Hettel

            On May 5, 2020, the People of the State of California filed a lawsuit for injunctive relief, restitution, and penalties against Uber Technologies, Inc., Lyft Inc., and 50 individuals whose identities remain private. The suit alleges that the defendants made calculated business decisions to misclassify their on-demand drivers as independent contractors rather than employees and continue to do so in violation of California law.

By classifying their workers as independent contractors, Uber and Lyft evade workplace standards and requirements such as minimum wages, overtime premium pay, reimbursement for business expenses, workers’ compensation coverage for on-the-job injuries, paid sick leave, and wage replacement programs like disability insurance and paid family leave.

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By: Eddie Hettel

Cook County personal injury attorneyThe COVID-19 pandemic has altered day-to-day life across the globe. With traditional face to face interactions coming to halt, schools, businesses, and governments have worked tirelessly to find innovative ways to continue their operations. The Illinois Supreme Court is among this group, and for the first time in history, will hold oral arguments for the month of May via Zoom teleconference.

In an effort to practice social distancing while continuing to conduct court proceedings for eager litigants, the Illinois high court has adopted this contemporary solution to keep its doors open.

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Cook County birth injury attorneyIn December 2019, Tomasik Kotin Kasserman secured an appellate victory in the Fifth District in a medical negligence case involving injuries suffered by a newborn child during labor and delivery. Recently, the Illinois Supreme Court denied the defendants’ petition for leave to appeal, solidifying the Fifth District’s unanimous decision in favor of the plaintiff, Crystal Williams.

On June 3, 2007, then-26-year-old Crystal, who was pregnant with twins, went into labor. Her OB/GYN, Dr. Bradley Tissier’s office, instructed her to go to St. Elizabeth’s hospital in Belleville, Illinois where medical staff would prepare a “double set-up” delivery, i.e. a delivery which involves a first team of doctors preparing the mother for vaginal delivery with a second team ready to perform an immediate cesarean section if difficulties arise during childbirth. Twin A was born without difficulty. Twin B (Jerrin), however, was positioned in a persistent transverse lie, meaning Jerrin’s head was to one of his mother’s sides and not towards the pelvis. A baby cannot be birthed vaginally when in transverse lie. But, instead of performing a C-section, Dr. Bradley Tissier attempted to rotate Jerrin into the vertex (head down) position, failed, and thereafter, ultimately delivered via footling breech (feet down) extraction. During the delivery, Jerrin’s umbilical cord became compressed, and as a result, he suffered serious, lifelong injuries.

Ms. Williams filed suit on behalf of herself and her son, Jerrin, against Dr. Tissier, his OB/GYN group, and St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for failure to perform a timely cesarean section. The hospital moved to dismiss the claim against it on the grounds that Dr. Tissier, the delivering doctor, was not an agent of the hospital and the trial court agreed. Ms. Williams appealed, and TKK co-founder and partner Timothy Tomasik argued the case on behalf of Ms. Williams before the Fifth District. Tomasik argued that a triable issue existed regarding whether Dr. Tissier was an apparent agent of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. Tomasik highlighted evidence in the case that showed that: Dr. Tissier was listed as one of the hospital’s doctors on its web site listed; Dr. Tissier’s medical office sign listed the office as a St. Elizabeth’s office; the letterhead for Dr. Tissier’s office identified him as a doctor who provided care to patients at “St. Elizabeth’s Medical Park;” and multiple documents, including consent forms and prescription forms, given to Ms. Williams regarding the care and treatment she received from Dr. Tissier, stated that Dr. Tissier, his medical practice, and his group were located at “St. Elizabeth’s Medical Park.” Tomasik also pointed out to the Fifth District that none of the extensive consent forms signed by Ms. Williams contained Dr. Tissier’s name, and these forms led Ms. Williams to believe that Dr. Tissier was an employee of St. Elizabeth’s.

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By: Eddie Hettel

Chicago Car Accident attorneyThe Illinois Supreme Court’s decision in Peach v. McGovern clarifies that expert testimony is not required to admit post-accident vehicular photographs. Previously, Appellate Courts had differing opinions as to whether a party was required to present expert testimony about a photograph before it was admitted into evidence.

The Court held that photographic evidence is admissible if it has a reasonable tendency to prove or disprove a material fact at issue in the case but may be excluded when irrelevant or immaterial or if its prejudicial nature outweighs its probative value. Peach v. McGovern, 2019 IL 123156, ¶ 27. In deciding the admissibility of post-accident vehicular photographs, trial courts must determine whether the photos make the resulting injury to the plaintiff more or less probable and whether the photos may be relevant with regard to impeachment. See id.

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Chicago rideshare accident attorneyA recent study revealed that app-based rideshare services account for a three percent annual increase in traffic-related fatalities. This translates to roughly 987 traffic-related fatalities each year resulting from rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft.

Although many supporters of the rideshare industry note the perceived benefits such as a possible decrease in drunk driving and added convenience to riders, the numbers tell a more startling story. Aside from the numerous assaults that occur each year in Ubers and Lyfts, data reveals that these services have also made our roadways less safe.

Rideshare services increase the number of people on the road for several reasons: 1) there are more drivers on the road, and 2) people who would otherwise have taken public transportation, walked, or biked are choosing rideshare services. Data reveals that after the introduction of ridesharing, traffic fatalities steadily increased as our roads become crowded with more vehicles.

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