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Tomasik Kotin Kasserman Obtains $266,954.44 Verdict Proving Willful and Wanton Conduct in Fall Down Case

Chicago personal injury lawyers Patrick J. Giese and Philip Terrazzino of Tomasik Kotin Kasserman obtained a $266,954.44 verdict against the Board of Education of the City of Chicago on behalf of a woman injured after she fell due to dangerous conditions in a gymnasium balcony at a west side high school.

A jury in Cook County reached the result in favor of Idella Price, now 77, of Chicago following a week long trial in the Daley Center before Judge Thomas Flanagan. The case involved a balcony at a west side high school that had been operating out of code for years and lacked handrails and proper lighting. Then 74 years old, Ms. Price fell trying to find a seat to watch her granddaughter’s basketball team play in a tournament. She fell attempting to traverse a 16” high seat through an overcrowded balcony because the stairs were blocked with patrons. The jury returned a finding that the Board consciously disregarded Ms. Price’s safety and that its willful and wanton conduct caused Ms. Price’s fractured shoulder and knee.

“School officials knew of the conditions, which were an injury waiting to happen, but chose to do nothing about it for decades. That is what made the conduct willful and wanton,” Giese said.

The jury heard evidence that Ms. Price was admitted to Cook County Hospital before being transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation facility to continue her treatment.

“The jury saw how dangerous this balcony was to the public, and there’s no doubt that in the future the Board will have to prioritize premises safety to protect the public,” Terrazzino said following the verdict.

Case No. 13 L 9635
Attorney for Defendant:
John LaMantia, Board of Education of the City of Chicago