LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SETTLEMENTS AND VERDICTS REACHED ON BEHALF OF OUR CLIENTS
Social Services Negligence and Child Abuse
$45 Million Award: Social Service Negligence and Wrongful Death – HISTORIC WIN
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.
$35 Million Settlement: Social Service Neglect – HISTORIC WIN
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.
$19.55 Million Settlement: Foster Care Abuse and Negligence
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.
$14 Million Settlement: Social Services Abuse and Negligence
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.
$8.7 Million Award: Foster Care Abuse and Negligence
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.
$8.6 Million Award: Social Services Negligence
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.
$6.46 Million Settlement: Social Services Negligence
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.
$5 Million Settlement: Social Services Abuse and Neglect
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.
$850,000 Settlement: Social Services Abuse
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
$23.3 Million Award: Hospital 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.
$14.75 Million Settlement: Hospital Negligence
$8 Million Award: Hospital Negligence
$6.75 Million Settlement: Hospital Negligence
Plaintiff appeared at a local emergency room with numbness of his lower extremities. A CT of the spine was taken and revealed no abnormality. He was admitted and began to decline. Within 24 hours he was paralyzed from the waist down. D&K argued that the hospital did not timely refer the patient to a neurosurgeon for emergency surgery. The hospital argued that the nature of the disease process suffered by the plaintiff meant that his lower extremity motor system could not be saved.
$6.2 Million Award: Hospital Negligence
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.
$6 Million Award: Hospital Negligence
$5.9 Million Settlement: Hospital Negligence
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.
$4 Million Award: Hospital Negligence
$3.85 Million Settlement: Hospital Negligence
Plaintiff appeared at the emergency room with an incontinent bladder from compression of an area of the spine called the cauda equina. Plaintiff was taken into emergency surgery within 12 hours which was appropriate from a timing standpoint. When the plaintiff emerged from surgery, the bladder incontinence did not improve. D&K argued that the surgery was not done utilizing the correct approach. The hospital disagreed and contended that the damage done to the nerves of the cauda equina was irreversible prior to the performance of the surgery and that nothing could be done to prevent the outcome.
$2.85 Million Settlement: Hospital Negligence
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.
$2.85 Million Settlement: Hospital Negligence
A severely diabetic patient developed an infected wound on his heel. The infection spread to his lower leg resulting in a below the knee amputation. D&K contended that the infectious disease team did not timely respond to the advancing infection. The hospital contended that the patient was going to suffer loss of his limb no matter what.
$1.9 Million Settlement: Hospital Negligence
$1.75 Million Settlement: Hospital Negligence
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.
$1.5 Million Settlement: Hospital Negligence
$800,000 Award: Hospital Negligence
$250,000 Settlement: Nursing Home Negligence
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
$10.7 Million Award: Personal Injury/Wrongful Death
$9.6 Million Award: Personal Injury/Wrongful Death
$5 Million Award: Personal Injury/Wrongful Death
$4.75 Million Settlement: Personal Injury
$4 Million Settlement: Personal Injury
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.
$2.145 Million Total Settlements: Personal Injury
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.
$1.875 Million Settlement: Personal Injury
$1.75 Million Settlement: Personal Injury and Wrongful Death
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.
$1.275 Million Award: Personal Injury
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