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$897,740.81: Punitive Damages Against Cab Company Upheld On Appeal

DISCLAIMER: The results are specific to the facts and legal circumstances of each of the clients' cases and should not be used to form an expectation that the same results could be obtained for other clients in similar matters without reference to the specific factual and legal circumstances of each client's case.

On July 28, 2017, the Illinois Appellate Court sided with our client, publishing an opinion that will make our roadways safer across Illinois.  

A Cook County jury awarded Shannon Law Group client Margaret Baumrucker $897,740.81 after an Express Cab Company vehicle struck her while walking in a marked crosswalk in Berwyn, Illinois in 2011.  Mrs. Baumrucker, a retired nurse from Oswego, suffered a permanent injury to her shoulder that will require a lifetime of physical therapy. 

On appeal, the court addressed Defendants’ argument that Illinois law does not require taxicab companies to vet drivers beyond ensuring that they possess an Illinois driver’s license and a chauffeur’s license.  Express argued that, since Leal had a license, it could not be liable for punitive damages despite the fact that it did not check the driver’s driving record, criminal record, employment history, and employed him without any training, despite knowing that he had no experience behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle.  Had a background check been performed, Express Cab would have learned that Leal had multiple traffic court convictions, including a conviction for driving under the influence and an extensive criminal background.  

The appellate court rejected Express Cab’s position, upholding Mrs. Baumrucker’s verdict in its entirety.

“This opinion reinforces the need for companies to fully vet commercial drivers,” said Joseph Shannon of the impact this opinion holds for Illinois drivers and citizens.  “This case arose out of an extremely poor vetting of a commercial driver.  With the rapid expansion of transportation apps like Uber and Lyft, it is imperative that the riding public have the protection of a full vetting process by commercial driving companies.” 

Read the Appellate Court’s opinion here.