The Law Offices of Parente & Norem, P.C. Achieves Highest Settlement in November 2022
The Law Offices of Parente & Norem, P.C. is proud to congratulate Christopher M. Norem, Dennis M. Lynch, and Joseph D. Parente for achieving the highest settlement in the $11M category as published in the December 2022 edition of Jury Verdict Reporter. Way to go, team!
$6.785M Construction Injury Settlement in Cook County
$6.785M settlement (plus the complete waiver of a $269K worker’s comp. lien) in the matter of Juan Hernandez Aguilar v. Kinzie Builders, LLC, et al. (2018 L 010486) pending in Cook County, IL before the Honorable Judge Jerry A. Esrig.
This matter settled late Friday afternoon (10/28) following motions in limine, which occurred earlier in the week. Jury selection was scheduled to begin Monday, 10/31/22.
Juan Hernandez Aguilar is a 41 year-old bricklayer foreman working for Third-Party Defendant, Hill Masonry, Inc. in Lake County, Illinois on a large town home and apartment project known as “Deer Park Crossing.” The General Contractor on the project was Kinzie Builders, LLC and the Carpentry Subcontractor on the project was Horizon Carpentry, Inc.
On January 26, 2018, Juan and his crew were assigned to work on a building that was in need of a masonry repair in the garage area on the ground floor. While he and his crew were working on the repair, a 70lb sheet of plywood fell out of a second story window of the building striking him on the top of his head and fracturing his C6 vertebrae requiring a C5-C7 double level fusion surgery with plates. After 10 months of rehabilitation Juan returned to his position as a foreman bricklayer for Hill Masonry in a “Medium” job capacity. His employer accommodates his permanent restrictions.
The plywood was brought onto the job site by the Carpentry Subcontractor, Horizon Carpentry, and left sticking out of the second story window for several days prior to the event. The General Contractor, Kinzie recognized the unsafe condition presented by the plywood the day before the event and ordered the carpenters to remove it but they did not do so prior to high winds displacing one of the sheets causing it to fall onto Juan.
On October 1, 2021, Judge Esrig granted plaintiff’s motion for leave to plead punitive damages against Defendant Horizon Carpentry based on their reckless disregard for safety on the job site. That order is attached.
Plaintiff did not seek medical bills or wage loss as part of his damages in this case.
The $6.785M settlement was apportioned $4,642,500.00 on behalf of Horizon Carpentry and $2,142,500.00 on behalf of Kinzie Builders.
The plaintiff was represented by:
- Christopher M. Norem
- Dennis Lynch
- Joseph D. Parente, all of The Law Offices of Parente & Norem, PC
Parente & Norem Trial Attorney, Dennis M. Lynch, Published in ISBA’s ‘Tort Trends’
Parente & Norem trial attorney, Dennis Lynch, has been published in this month’s Illinois State Bar Association Tort Trends newsletter. The article, ‘Confusing Duty and Breach of Duty in Motion Practice’ highlights differences between the two and how they are often conflated and confused in practice.
Congratulations to Dennis on his publication! To learn more about Dennis Lynch and to contact him for a free case evaluation click here.
Injured Worker Settles for $6M | Man Was Employed as Union Carpenter Before Spine Surgery
$6,000,000 settlement for carpenter after offer is increased by $2,000,000
following opening statements
A Cook County construction negligence case has settled for $6,000,000 mid-trial.
Joshua Rominski was a Local 13 Union Carpenter when he was injured on the job on February 9, 2016. Rominski was working for Service Drywall and Decorating doing rough carpentry during construction of an addition to the Mather Place retirement home in Wilmette, Illinois. W.E. O’Neill was the general contractor for the project.
As part of the project, a temporary scaffold staircase was constructed to allow each worker to access the site. Rominski alleged that on the morning of February 9, 2016, after using the stairs several times, he slipped on snow and ice and fell down several steps, injuring his back. Weather reports showed there was minimal snow that morning – .04 of an inch – and Rominski’s foreman and coworkers could not recall there being snow or ice on the stairs. Accident reports filled out later that day indicated there was ice and snow.
Plaintiff claimed that any ice or snow on the stairs violated OSHA’s scaffolding rules. They further claimed that W.E. O’Neill was short staffed on the day of the accident – its site safety supervisor has left W.E. O’Neill and had not been replaced, the labor foreman was sent to another jobsite that day, and the project manager did not come to work until later in the day. One W.E. O’Neil laborer testified that he would have gotten to work early and cleared any snow and ice from the stairs before any subcontractors started working.
As a result of his fall, Rominski had an L5-S1 fusion and was unable to return to work as a union carpenter. However, W.E. O’Neil claimed Rominski was able to work at the medium demand level, which was all that Service Drywall’s job description required. Rominski’s father and grandfather were union carpenters, and his inability to return to that job had a profound impact on him.
The case was twice mediated before Judge William Gomolinski of ADR Systems. Prior to opening statements, W.E. O’Neill offered $4,000,000. After opening statements, W.E. O’Neil offered $6,000,000, which was accepted by Rominski. Additionally, Service Drywall agreed to reduce its workers’ compensation lien by half. Judge Israel Desierto presided over the trial.
Rominski was represented by Matthew Coleman, Dennis Lynch and Taylor Matichak of Parente & Norem.
Attorney Matt Coleman also represented Rominski in his workers’ compensation case. In that case, the Workers’ Compensation Commission Arbitrator denied the claim – finding that Rominski only suffered a back strain and could return to work. The Workers’ Compensation Commission reversed the arbitrator and awarded benefits. This decision was recently affirmed by the Appellate Court. Service Drywall and Decorating v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, 2022 IL App (1st) 210965WC-U (4/22/22). As a result of the Arbitrator’s ruling denying the claim, Rominski went without pay or medical benefits for over 5 years.
W.E. O’Neil was represented by Katherine Crouch and Howard Trafman of Lindsey, Picket and Postel.
Service Drywall and Decorating was represented by Brad Smith of Keefe, Campbell, Biery.
P&N BLOG | Meet Partner Matthew J. Coleman
Matthew J. Coleman is a partner and head of the Work Injury Department at The Law Offices of Parente & Norem. Before law school, he worked on the southside as a special education teacher in the Chicago Public Schools. Matt taught children and young adults with a variety of moderate to severe physical and developmental disabilities. He witnessed first-hand the daily challenges that face a person with a disability. “It’s in the little things – washing your hair. . .putting a seatbelt on. . .the little things we take for granted.”
Matthew also regularly travels the state to meet and educate union workers as to their rights under the Illinois Workers Compensation Act. He has also a frequent collaborator with the Illinois Trial Lawyer’s Association. In November of ’20 he was invited as a guest lecturer regarding changes in work injury law.
Matthew has represented members of Teamsters Unions, Carpenters Unions, LiUNA, AFSCME, IAM , Pipefitters Union, Roofers Union, Fraternal Order of Police, and local Firefighters Unions, in their claims before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. He routinely tries cases before Arbitrators and has successfully argued before the Commission, Circuit Courts, and the Illinois Appellate Court. Matthew will also handle any “third party” action in State or Federal court when the work injury is caused by the carelessness of others. This includes cases involving motor vehicle and truck wrecks, construction negligence, products liability, and unsafe conditions on a premises.
Matthew lives on the southside with his wife and three children. He has a young daughter with a cerebral palsy diagnosis. This affects her ability to crawl, sit, walk, and use one of her arms. She works hard in physical therapy and attends the Center for Independence Through Conductive Education. Matt is actively involved with the Center and is most passionate about educating others about cerebral palsy and children with differences. His family also sponsors the training of a puppy for the Guide Dogs of America.
For more information on Matthew J. Coleman and the rest of the team at The Law Offices of Parente & Norem, click here.
P&N BLOG | Meet Trial Attorney Dennis M. Lynch
Attorney Dennis M. Lynch has received multi-million dollar and record setting verdicts and settlements on behalf of injury victims throughout Illinois, and has also represented individuals nationwide, including cases filed in Indiana, Kentucky, Colorado, and Michigan. He has also represented numerous union flight attendants who reside nationwide and overseas concerning on the job injuries.
His cases have been brought against the largest corporations and insurance companies in the world and have involved all areas of personal injury litigation, including interstate trucking, insurance bad faith, products liability, workers’ compensation, nursing home litigation, and medical malpractice.
Since 2015, Dennis Lynch has helped teach the Construction Law class at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Dennis was also invited to speak at his alma mater, Lewis University, on how you can apply your History degree in today’s world.
Dennis was named one of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin’s 40 Illinois attorneys under 40 to watch in 2021. For more information on Dennis Lynch and our Parente & Norem team, click here.
P&N BLOG | Matthew J. Coleman & Taylor R. Matichak Featured in Illinois Trial Lawyer Association Publications
The Law Offices of Parente & Norem, P.C. is proud to announce that Matthew J. Coleman and Taylor R. Matichak from the firm’s Work Injury department have been invited to contribute to the Illinois Trial Lawyer Association’s Trial Journal Magazine. The publication offers current legal trends and tips and is circulated statewide to plaintiff’s injury attorneys. This will be Matthew Coleman’s second feature article.
Matthew J. Coleman and Taylor R. Matichak were also selected to contribute to the Illinois Trial Lawyer Association’s Workers’ Compensation Trial Notebook. The publication is widely considered to be the most comprehensive worker’s compensation educational material within the state. The Chapter is titled “Vocational and Physical Rehabilitation.”
For more information on Parente & Norem’s experienced trial attorneys, click here.
P&N BLOG | Parente & Norem Sponsors Center For Independence
The Law Firm of Parente & Norem, P.C. and partner Matthew J. Coleman, are proud to be “Double Eagle” sponsors at the Center for Independence’s 24th Annual Benefit.
The mission of the Center for Independence is to help children with physical disabilities gain independence. The Center does this by developing their motor functions in a manner that creates positive self-esteem, self-direction and an “I Can!” attitude. Since 1998, the Center for Independence has served more than 1000 children and young adults and provided over $14,000,000 in charitable services. No child has ever been turned away, nor program hours reduced, due to insurance or income limitations.
P&N BLOG | Meet Tiki!
Parente & Norem is proud to introduce Tiki, a guide dog sponsored by partner and head of our Work Injury department, Matthew Coleman. Tiki is a guide dog with the Guide Dogs of America. She is an adorable Lab who is just about to be 18 months old, and has passed all of her ‘puppy kindergarten’ training.
Guide Dogs of America is an organization that transforms lives through partnerships with service dogs. They breed, raise, and train guide dogs for individuals who are blind/visually impaired, and provide service dogs for veterans and children with autism. They also place facility dogs with professionals in hospitals, schools, and courtrooms. Guide Dogs of America’s highly skilled canines become trusted companions that increase people’s confidence, mobility, and independence. All programs and services, including transportation, personalized training, room/board, and postgraduate support, are provided at no cost to the recipient.
This past December, Tiki was selected as a breeder for Guide Dogs of America! This is quite an honor because only the top 2% of dogs being puppy raised are selected for this special program! We hope Tiki will deliver many generations of successful service/guide dogs. Way to go, Tiki! We think you’re pretty PAWESOME!!! 🐾