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Illinois Acts to Safeguard Illinois Judges


Beginning on September 22, judges in Illinois will be able to have personal information removed from websites and public documents. Governor Pat Quinn has signed the Michael Lefkow and Donna Humphrey Judicial Privacy Improvement Act of 2012.

The law is named after the husband and mother of U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow, who were murdered in 2005. Law enforcement authorities believe that they were killed in retaliation for Lefkow having dismissed a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Under the new law, Illinois judges may submit written requests to businesses, organizations and government bodies to remove their personal information, or that of their immediate families, from websites and other documents available to the public. Private parties will have three days to comply with the request, while government agencies must act within five business days.

Personal information covered under the law includes home addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, banking information, social security numbers, marital status and names of minor children.

Judges may also request that personal information be redacted from public records requests. Beginning January 1, they will be able to list their office addresses, rather than home addresses, on driver’s licenses.

The Lefkow case focused attention on the safety of judges both in Illinois and on the national level. Shortly after the murders, Lefkow testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and urged Congress to act. In 2007, the Judicial Disclosure Responsibility Act was passed, allowing the redaction of some of judges’ personal information from financial disclosure reports.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer and Chicago medical
malpractice attorney
with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call
1.877.595.4878 or visit

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Joyce Meyer Ministries Asks Judge to Dismiss Wrongful Death Suit

Joyce Meyer Ministries has asked an Illinois judge to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Sheri Coleman who, along with her two sons, were murdered in 2009 by her husband Christopher Coleman. A St. Clair County judge heard arguments in Monroe County on why the case should be dismissed.

Christopher Coleman was the chief of security for Joyce Meyer Ministries, based in Fenton, Missouri. He spent months planning the murder of his wife and sons, writing and sending death threats in order to plant the idea in the minds of authorities that his family had been randomly targeted by a psychotic killer. The bodies of Sheri Coleman and her sons, Garett and Gavin, were found in their Columbia, Illinois home in 2009. Christopher Coleman was convicted of first degree murder two years later.

Sheri Coleman’s mother and brother have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the ministry, claiming that the organization did not do enough to protect the family. The ministry, which was aware of the death threats against the family, contacted authorities.

Sheri Coleman’s family claims that her husband’s motivation in murdering his family was to avoid a divorce and start a new life with a woman he was having an affair with. The family claims that the ministry was aware that Christopher Coleman was having an affair, and that the organization should have taken more action.

Attorneys for Joyce Meyer Ministries, in arguing for a dismissal of the wrongful death suit, said that the ministry could not have been aware that Coleman was planning to murder his wife and children, when even police did not know.

Paul Greenberg is a Chicago wrongful death attorney and Chicago wrongful death
with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

New Crash Tests Show Most Luxury Cars Do Not Perform Well

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has developed a new frontal crash test, and the majority of midsize luxury cars have received poor marks.

The test creates a simulation of what occurs when an automobile strikes another car or a stationary object such as a tree. The test uses a five-foot barrier, striking 25 percent of the automobile’s front end against it, at a speed of 40 miles per hour.

Unfortunately, most luxury models from the 2012 model year failed the test. The Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class, and Lexus luxury models all received poor ratings. Four other automobiles received a marginal rating: the Lincoln MKZ, Acura TSX, Volkswagen CC and the BMW 3 series.

The poor scores indicate that these models would not protect occupants very well in a real-world collision. Only three of the 11 cars tested earned a rating of good or acceptable: the Infiniti G, Acura TL and Volvo S60.

The Institute, which receives its funding from insurance companies, issues safety ratings for automobiles that are closely watched by the industry, frequently leading to design and safety changes. Automobile manufacturers often highlight good scores in their advertisements for new models.

The poor scores overall for luxury models may be a sign of things to come for the non-luxury models, which are slated next to undergo the new test.

The Institute cited several specific problems that led to poor ratings on the luxury vehicles. One problem is that side air bags, which are designed to protect occupants in a side-impact, T-bone type crash, may not inflate fast enough in the case of a frontal impact. Three models, the Volkswagen, Mercedes and BMW, had problems with their seat belts. After an impact, the belts spooled out too much, causing high-velocity impacts for the crash-test dummies used in the tests. The Volkswagen had a door sheared completely off.

Mercedes responded to the test by saying that the company’s C-Class has been rated by the Institute as one of the safest models. Mercedes further noted that the test conducted by the Institute was for an uncommon, particularly severe accident. Mercedes said that the company was a leader in automotive safety, and that the C-Class would protect occupants during a crash.

Toyota, owner of the Lexus brand, said that the company accepted the test results and that it would incorporate the data into safety advancements for new vehicles. Toyota also pointed out that the Institute had chosen 17 of its models as top safety choices, more than any other car manufacturer.

The Institute said the test was based on real-world frontal crashes, which result in more than 10,000 deaths each year in the United States.

Robert Briskman is a Chicago car accident lawyer and Chicago truck accident attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

Jury Awards $78.5 Million in Birth Injury Case

A Pennsylvania jury awarded $78.5 million to a mother whose baby suffered a brain injury, finding that the child’s brain damage was the result of medical malpractice. The mother, Victoria Upsey, filed suit against Pottsdown Memorial Medical Center in Pennsylvania, as well as the medical professionals that attended her child’s delivery.

Upsey was admitted to the hospital in August 2008. Doctors detected a placental abruption, in which the placental lining becomes prematurely separated from the uterus. The obstetrician performed fetal monitoring and an ultrasound, but the lawsuit alleges that the equipment used for the ultrasound was
outdated and poorly maintained. The fetus was mistakenly declared dead in the womb, but 81 minutes later, the obstetrician realized that the baby was still alive and performed an emergency Caesarean section, according to the suit.

The lawsuit alleged that the delay in performing the C-section caused the baby to suffer a permanent brain injury, resulting in cerebral palsy.

In discovery, the obstetrician claimed that the ultrasound was performed correctly and that the baby in fact did die and then returned to life. The plaintiff alleged that the ultrasound machine was not maintained properly and that no ultrasound technician was on duty to check the machine’s findings. The hospital later conceded that the machine had not been serviced in 10 years, a violation of regulations, and that no ultrasound technician was on duty.

The jury awarded damages for medical expenses, the child’s pain and suffering and the mother’s emotional distress.

Robert Briskman is a Chicago birth injury lawyer and birth injury attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

AIG to Pay Illinois $3.7 Million in Workers’ Comp Settlement

American International Group (AIG), the multinational insurance company, will pay state regulators millions of dollars in a settlement based on the corporation’s misreporting of workers’ compensation premiums. The company will pay $146 million, with the state of Illinois receiving $3.7 million of the total.

Every state and the District of Columbia participated in a probe that was launched in 2008. The investigation revealed that AIG hid $2.12 billion or more in workers’ comp premiums by assigning them to other aspects of its business, in an effort to lower taxes and assessments. The misreporting took place from 1985 to 1996.

In the settlement, AIG agreed to pay $100 million in fines, plus $46.4 million in taxes and assessments.

Although the settlement was reached in December of 2010, several other conditions had to be met before the payments could be made. AIG had to resolve a $450 million settlement in a case involving some of the company’s competitors and pay $25 million in another case involving insurance guaranty associations.

Other states will benefit greatly from the settlement. Florida, which was one of the lead states involved in the probe, will receive $14.3 million, with some money going to several state agencies, including the state’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fund and the Division of Workers’ Compensation. Pennsylvania will collect $16.8 million, and California will receive $15.6 million.

The multi-state investigation built on a 2006 probe by New York’s attorney general and efforts by officials in Minnesota, Rhode Island and Indiana.

Robert Briskman is a Chicago workers compensation attorney and Chicago workers compensation lawyer with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. To learn more call 1.877.595.4878 or visit

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The Chicago Illinois personal injury law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg represents injured people throughout Illinois, including Chicago, the Chicagoland area, Joliet, Waukegan, Cicero, Evanston, Arlington Heights, Wheaton, Bolingbrook, and Naperville, as well as other cities within Cook County, Will County, DuPage County, Lake County and McHenry County.
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