Learn More About The Settlements And Verdicts Reached On Behalf Of Our Clients
Social Services Negligence and Child Abuse
On March 27, 2018, a Cook County jury awarded $45 million to the estate of a toddler who had died after being negligently released back into the care of his biological mother.
In June 2011, two-year-old Lavandis Hudson was hospitalized for injuries he sustained as a result of abuse by his biological mother, Marles Blackman. Following his recovery from those injuries, Lavandis was released back into Blackman’s care by Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI), which was a nonprofit company under contract with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to provide Lavandis with care. On July 21 of that year, Lavandis died, murdered by his mother.
Our investigation revealed that LSSI was aware of Blackman’s significant history of drug abuse and violence. In addition to her acts of abuse against Lavandis himself, she had faced multiple battery and assault charges and had previously set her disabled brother on fire. Furthermore, according to our expert witnesses and the company’s admissions, we found that LSSI had committed over 130 violations of DCFS regulations.
We argued that LSSI had caused Lavandis’ death by failing to provide therapy services, drug reviews, and regular home visits that would have likely led to a different outcome, and by negligently returning Lavandis to his biological mother’s care following an act of abuse. The jury agreed, returning a $45 million verdict after less than three hours of deliberations. The verdict included $30 million for Lavandis’ pain and suffering, $7.5 million for his next of kin’s grief and sorrow, and $7.5 million for his next of kin’s loss of society.
We hope that this verdict will not only secure justice for Lavandis’s family but also send a strong message that the flawed foster care system in Illinois and nationwide needs to be changed to avoid future tragedies.
Record settlement against the Los Angeles DCFS.
On the first summer day of 2018, during which children should be out playing and enjoying their time away from school, ten-year-old Anthony Avalos died as a result of physical abuse and torture at the hands of his mother Heather Barron, and her boyfriend Kareem Leiva. From 2013 to 2017, thirteen calls had been made regarding Antony’s abuse, of which the DCFS followed up only eight times. We found that the DCFS had failed to conduct thorough investigations per their own rules, ignored their regulations requiring interviews with the children alone, and continued to ignore the children’s specific complaints about the beatings.
The day before his death, Anthony allegedly revealed to his mom that he might be gay. From there, at the hands of his mother and boyfriend, Anthony endured whippings, being held upside down, dropped on his head, had hot sauce sprayed into his eyes, nose, and mouth, and was forced to kneel on rice for hours on end. Accounts from several of his relatives revealed his mother and her boyfriend’s proclivity for homophobic behavior.
We worked on behalf of Anthony’s father and several surviving siblings, securing a $32 million settlement against Los Angeles County just days before the case would have gone to trial as well as another $3 million outside of that settlement.
The plaintiffs claimed that a foster mother allowed an unlicensed man into her home, and he injured the foster child. The foster care agency claimed that the foster parent failed to advise them appropriately and terminated its contract with the foster parent for improper conduct. Deratany & Kosner has settled all claims in a foster care abuse case against nine defendants, all contractors or subcontractors in the Illinois social services system.
Jay Paul Deratany obtained a $14 million settlement on behalf of a family that had suffered abuse due to the negligence of a social services agency.
Deratany & Kosner attained an $8.7 million verdict against an Erie County, Pennsylvania foster care division for a boy who was sexually terrorized by an older boy placed in his home. The boy said he suffered years of sexual abuse at the hands of a deeply disturbed foster teen who was placed in his home when he was a 9-year-old. He had to be hospitalized numerous times for debilitating psychiatric conditions stemming from the trauma of these sexual assaults. Implicated in this case are former Erie County OCY caseworkers, whom the jury believes violated the boy’s civil rights in 2001, by placing a teen with a known history of sexual offenses in a home in which a juvenile resided.
Two siblings were placed in a temporary foster care home where they experienced sexual abuse by two other children living in the home. The private agency assigned by DCFS to monitor the placement failed to notice the signs of the abuse occurring which led to the children remaining in the home and continuing to suffer abuse.
In April 2017, the body of 17-month-old Sema’j Crosby was found stuffed beneath a couch in a Joliet Township home. Deratany & Kosner settled the nearly $6.5 million wrongful-death lawsuit, on behalf of Sema’j’s estate, targeting Children’s Home and Aid (CHA), a contractor for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. CHA had failed to provide Sema’j with adequate care and did not remove the child from the home she had been living in, which was in a condemnable state.
On April 24, 2017, a caseworker from CHA visited the home of Sema’j Crosby–the 41st time in eight months that a caseworker had been sent to the home. The caseworker reported sightings of “bedbugs, roaches, [and] vermin” on their visit. Despite the report, Sema’j was not removed from the home, as CHA should have done. This unfortunate lack of action allowed for the tragedy to come the following day when Sema’j was reported missing. Her body was found beneath the couch a day later. Her untimely death was ruled a homicide by asphyxia.
Ta’Naejah McCloud was a five-year-old girl who died at the hands of her mother’s girlfriend. Before her death, Cuyahoga County’s Division of Children and Family Services had interviewed Ta’Naejah about injuries she received from her mother Tequila Crump, and her girlfriend Ursula Owens, who present with her in the interviews. These interviews went against the agency’s policy which is to speak with victims away from their suspected abusers. After these interviews, Ta’Naejah’s abuse increased. The final beatings took place as Owens attacked Ta’Naejah for urinating on herself. Owens and Crump left the girl for ten hours before taking her to the hospital. Ta’Naejah died in March 2017 of a brain bleed brought on by head trauma.
The county’s negligence in its interviews with Ta’Naejah failed to give her the proper protection she needed, which played a significant factor in her untimely death.
Cuyahoga County agreed to pay $5 million to settle the case.
This case arose from an Illinois adoption agency’s failure to disclose the physical and mental well-being of two children in a foreign orphanage who were being adopted by the plaintiffs. The Illinois adoption agency’s employee represented to the plaintiffs that the children were in good health and had no history of violence or any sexually inappropriate behavior.
After the adoption agency’s reassurance, plaintiffs adopted the two children and brought them into their home with their three young biological children. A few months later, plaintiffs learned that one of the adopted children was sexually abusing one of their biological children and their other adopted child. The Illinois adoption agency’s employee knew about the adopted child’s history of inappropriate sexual behavior and falsely represented to the plaintiffs that the child had no such history.
Hospital and Nursing Home Negligence
Deratany & Kosner proved negligence of hospital employees responsible for monitoring his fetal heart rate prior to birth. Had the baby been delivered just 15 minutes earlier, he would not have sustained such devastating injuries. This case accounts for the highest medical malpractice verdict in Lake County to date.
An eight-year-old girl was born severely anemic and required a blood transfusion. However, there was a 4.5 hour delay in ordering the necessary blood, resulting in the then infant girl suffering severe brain damage.
Joya Pipkin, died at the age of 41 at Mount Sinai Hospital due to a failed code blue system after she was given sedation on January 16, 2009. She left behind her 14-year-old son, Ronald Willis Junior. Deratany & Kosner represented Mr. Willis and was able to obtain justice for the untimely and preventable death of his mother. The jury found that Mount Sinai Hospital was negligent in failing to have a proper code blue protocol in place for resuscitating patients who suffer adverse consequences from sedation. In Ms. Pipkin’s case, over seven minutes passed before an anesthesiologist was present and proper resuscitation was initiated. Those seven minutes contributed to irreversible brain damage, that ultimately led to Ms. Pipkin’s passing.
A 2-year-old child was brain damaged because of a surgeon’s negligence. Deratany and his co-counsel obtained expert witnesses from as far away as New Zealand, who testified that the doctor’s failure to follow protocol was a direct cause of the child’s severe injuries.
Robbin Myers was a 38-year-old father of eight who went to the emergency room at Advocate South Suburban Hospital on June 9, 2014, with the worst headache of his life, and several other risk factors and symptoms indicative of an aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. He was diagnosed with a migraine and discharged. He collapsed 23 hours after his discharge of a massive subarachnoid hemorrhage resulting from a ruptured cerebral aneurysm. Plaintiff filed a medical malpractice lawsuit alleging that Advocate South Suburban failed to take a proper history, conduct the proper tests, diagnose, and treat an aneurysm subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Plaintiff suffered a stroke in the hospital, resulting in brain damage after a missed dose of a medication designed to achieve anti-coagulation and prevent stroke. The defendant argued that one missed dose could not have caused the plaintiff to suffer a stroke.
This case arose out of a medical malpractice action brought by the decedent’s wife against a Chicago Hospital. The plaintiff was awarded $4 million by a Cook County Jury for the death of her husband. Deratany & Kosner, argued on behalf of the widow, that the hospital failed to diagnose her husband’s abdominal aortic aneurysm and failed to obtain his test results promptly. They argued that her husband’s death was a result of the delay in obtaining test results and reaching the correct diagnosis.
This case involved the death of a mother giving birth in a Delaware hospital. The plaintiff’s theory was that the death occurred as a result of an esophageal intubation during a C-section resulting in oxygen deprivation and death. The defendant denied anything went appreciably wrong during intubation and if there was any oxygen deprivation it was not prolonged. Rather, the defendants claimed that the patient died of an amniotic fluid embolism which the coroner could not rule out in his autopsy report. After carefully dissecting every medical record and every deposition, Mr. Kosner was able to convince the coroner to change his opinion and rule out amniotic fluid embolism and rule in esophageal intubation as the likely cause of death.
This case involved a slip and fall at a local hospital. The plaintiff injured her leg and developed complex regional pain syndrome.
A 65-year-old man with severe Parkinson’s Disease went to Northshore University for the surgical placement of a Deep Brain Stimulator (“DBS”), which is a device implanted into the brain that can control the tremors associated with Parkinson’s Disease. While the surgery was successful and the placement of the DBS was textbook, within twenty-four hours following the procedure, the plaintiff began to develop nausea, abdominal swelling, and abdominal pain. He had a condition called an “ileus,” which is the failure of the bowels to start moving following surgery.
The plaintiff’s symptoms continued for over fifteen hours without being treated, when the patient began vomiting profusely. Being a Parkinson’s patient, the plaintiff had less control over the muscles in his neck and mouth. The plaintiff choked on his vomit, “aspirated” and a code blue was called. The plaintiff did not recover and died the following day.
Deratany & Kosner argued that the hospital should have identified the condition and treated it for fifteen hours, especially knowing that the plaintiff was at greater risk of being unable to handle the effects of vomiting given his medical condition.
A 65-year-old man with severe Parkinson’s Disease went to Northshore University for the surgical placement of a Deep Brain Stimulator (“DBS”), which is a device implanted into the brain that can control the tremors associated with Parkinson’s Disease. While the surgery was successful and the placement of the DBS was textbook, within twenty-four hours following the procedure, the plaintiff began to develop nausea, abdominal swelling, and abdominal pain. He had a condition called an “ileus,” which is the failure of the bowels to start moving following a surgery.
The plaintiff’s symptoms continued over fifteen hours without being treated, when the patient began vomiting profusely. Being a Parkinson’s patient, the plaintiff had less control over the muscles in his neck and mouth. The plaintiff choked on his vomit, “aspirated” and a code blue was called. The plaintiff did not recover and died the next day.
Deratany & Kosner argued that the hospital should have identified the condition and treated it over the course of fifteen hours, especially knowing that the plaintiff was at greater risk for being unable to handle the effects of vomiting given his medical condition.
This case involved an unmarried and childless 33-year-old who was admitted to a local hospital with acute alcohol induced pancreatitis. The plaintiff died in the hospital after experiencing respiratory depression.
A physician and employees of the medical group, who were first responsible for evaluating a young girl, failed to adequately evaluate her condition, failed to advise her mother of worrisome signs and symptoms, and failed to rule out meningitis. Deratany & Kosner argued that the child’s illness could have and should have been arrested before it attacked her central nervous system.
In 2013, a 92-year-old woman died at a nursing home, due to staff negligence. The woman had developed a urinary tract infection, which led to sepsis that proved to be fatal. She was also dehydrated and had a bed sore on her sacral area. Our investigation found that the nursing home was not providing adequate care. The nursing home was also required to chart her care and condition on a daily basis. She had been a resident for about 60 days, but her care and condition had only been charted for 14 of those days.
Personal Injury and Wrongful Death
An 18-month-old girl was badly burned when scalding water suddenly flowed into the bathtub where she was being bathed. She suffered second-degree burns over more than 50 percent of her body. Six weeks later, she died. A jury awarded the estate of a deceased toddler $10.7 million, agreeing that a water heater manufactured by the American Water Heater Company was unreasonably dangerous.
A Cook County inmate, nine months pregnant, complained of cramps to jail officials and was given Tylenol for what they believed were withdrawal symptoms. The infant was later born in the jail cell and fell two feet during the delivery, hitting her head on the concrete floor. The infant died the following day. A jury awarded the estate of the infant $9.6 million as a result of the injuries she sustained after being born in a Cook County Jail cell after the doctors and staff ignored her mother’s pleas that she was in labor.
On January 22, 2004, Scott Eskew, a legally blind man, and married to a mentally and physically challenged wife, was standing at the northeast corner of the METRA/BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) Railway platform at the Berwyn Station. Jay Paul Deratany, attorney for the plaintiff, alleged that BNSF and METRA were negligent for failing to have an adequate P.A. system and for giving an improper message to commuters, which created confusion. The Plaintiff also alleged that the conductor of the train, who had told the ticket agent she would “wait,” was negligent because she did not wait and in fact proceeded through the intersection killing Scott Eskew, and that the engineer and conductor should have sounded the horn to warn passengers given their knowledge that people were crossing.
Trucking accident in Northern Indiana, resulting in severe orthopedic injuries to the client. Case was settled within 12 months of the accident and resolved without filing a lawsuit.
Client CB was driving a semi-truck westbound on I-80 when he saw a stalled truck. Unable to stop in time, he crashed into the other truck. The collision left CB with a fractured femur in each leg, a fractured left hip, a fractured left elbow, a lacerated liver, a fractured nose, a torn meniscus, and a dislocated jaw. He spent a month in the hospital and required months of physical therapy after that.
After his injuries had healed, our firm covered the fees to have CB evaluated in comprehensive independent medical and orthopedic exams, from which we could determine the effects of the injuries on his ability to work. Because of our efforts on behalf of our client, the insurance company decided it was in their best interests to negotiate. We were able to work out a settlement for $4 million, which we determined to be the full value of his claim. This gave CB closure and financial relief within a year of his crash-without filing a lawsuit.
Nadja was driving amidst a raging blizzard down I-80 in Indiana on her way home to Chicago when she came upon a multi-vehicle pile-up. Due to the poor conditions caused by the blizzard, she was unable to stop her car, and momentarily lost consciousness after she collided with another vehicle.
When Nadja awoke, she found the front of her car wedged underneath a semi-truck, her roof was slightly caved in, and the car was smoking. Afraid her car would catch fire, Nadja escaped the car for the side of the road. Minutes later, a trucker, attempting to avoid the pile-up, swerved to the side of the road. Nadja was hit and sent flying toward the median. She was knocked unconscious and suffered a severe fractured pelvis. In the hour it took for emergency medical personnel to arrive, Nadja suffered frostbite on her hands and legs. But her hands were saved. Amazingly, Nadja eventually made a full recovery. She had suffered significant damages, however. We went to work to help her recover financial compensation for her injuries.
We reviewed all of the accident reports for I-80 that day and found another accident that had led to the chain of events in which our client was hurt. Once we discovered this information, we added the trucking company responsible for the original crash to our lawsuit, and the damages we recovered from that defendant turned out to be one of the largest parts of Nadja’s total recovery.
Deratany & Kosner settled a multi-defendant construction negligence case in which over one hundred roofing trusses collapsed onto the Plaintiff as he was installing them, causing him severe injury. Plaintiff argued that the general contractors supervising the construction site failed to properly plan the project and inspect the site during construction.
A moving truck was traveling down North Street in Lombard. The driver was impaired and ran through a red light at an intersection, t-boning a car driven by Dawn, who was coming home from work. Dawn suffered brain damage and was taken to the hospital, where she died 3 months later. Her husband Aaron was left as sole caretaker of their two children, one of whom is disabled.
Our firm found that the moving company had a $1 million insurance policy. We investigated and found another $750,000 in coverage. We also looked for any assets the company had to get the family the most compensation possible.
A bee farmer who owns Walker Farms in North Fort Myers, was injured in an accident Sept. 14, 2005, while driving on Del Prado Boulevard in North Fort Myers. A truck driver swerved over the line and hit the plaintiff and his wife causing severe and permanent damage.
Our Results in 2022
In 2022, we’ve won several cases with over $50 million recovered for our clients so far this year. These cases include:
- $35 million settlement, one of the largest of its kind against the Department of Children and Family Services, from the County of Los Angeles in the case of Anthony Avalos’ murder at the hands of his biological mother and the mother’s boyfriend. The suit was brought on behalf of Victor Avalos, Anthony’s father, and three of Anthony Avalos’ surviving siblings.
- $6.4 million settlement with Illinois DCFS in the child negligence case where 17-month-old Sema’j Crosby was killed.
- $5 million settlement from Cuyahoga County in the child abuse and negligence case that caused the death of 5-year-old Ta’naejah McCloud.
- Auto accident settled for $3.89 million
- Auto accident mediated for $1.75 million
- Medical malpractice settled for $1 million