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Hannigan, Kennedy Secure Defense Verdict in Favor of Hospital in Will County Case. Plaintiff Sought $17.5M.  

January 2, 2024

Johnson & Bell Shareholder, Susan M. Hannigan, and Attorney, Kristen N. Kennedy, secured a defense verdict in favor of their hospital client in a trial held in Will County.  Plaintiff sought $17.5 million in damages. 

In this case, a 33-year-old disabled woman with a seizure disorder, presented to the defendant hospital on May 16, 2014 for assessment and treatment following seizures. While admitted to the hospital, she fell and fractured her right proximal femur requiring surgical repair.  After surgery, she was discharged to a nursing and rehabilitation center on May 22, 2014. On June 3, 2014, while at the nursing and rehabilitation center, she fell, and fractured her right distal femur and underwent a second surgical repair. Plaintiff argued the defendant hospital’s nurses knew the disabled woman was a high fall risk and failed to implement appropriate fall interventions causing her first femur fracture on May 16, 2014. Plaintiff also argued that the patient's second fall and femur fracture were caused by impairment from her first femur fracture. Plaintiff alleged that as the result of her femur fractures, she became permanently wheelchair dependent and required permanent admission to a residential health care facility.

On behalf of the defendant, Hannigan and Kennedy argued the nurses’ care was reasonable, that they implemented appropriate fall interventions on May 16, 2014, and that plaintiff’s falls and femur fractures were caused by seizures related to her seizure disorder. Defendant further argued that plaintiff recovered from her orthopedic injuries by December 2014, and she returned to her baseline condition which included cerebral palsy and developmental delay. The defense also argued that plaintiff’s need for a wheelchair and residential care were related to her pre-existing conditions as she had lived in a residential health care facility prior to her fractures and had previously utilized a wheelchair for mobility needs.

At the end of the trial, which lasted more than two weeks, plaintiff asked the jury for $17,517,259.10 in damages.  After deliberating for approximately four hours, the jury returned a verdict for the defense.

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