BWMK Partner Elizabeth Kaveny & Brian Monico File Suit Against the City of Chicago as Police Chase Ends in Woman’s Death


Chicago (July 18, 2013):

Noted Chicago plaintiffs' law firm Burke Wise Morrissey Kaveny (BWMK) filed suit on July 17, 2013 in Cook County Circuit Court against the City of Chicago and a man whose pursuit by Chicago police resulted in the traffic accident death of 35-year old Marisol Mercado. Handling the case of Padilla v. City of Chicago and James Brown on behalf of Valerie Padilla, Mercado's daughter and personal representative of her estate, are BWMK Partner Elizabeth Kaveny and Brian Monico.

On the evening of July 13, 2013, Mercado, a mother of five children, was driving one of three vehicles into which James Brown crashed at Pulaski Road and Chicago Avenue, when as a suspect in an earlier shooting, he was being pursued by Chicago Police officers. According to reports, two nearby police officers heard shots fired, saw Brown leave the scene and pursued Brown's vehicle at a high rate of speed when he refused to stop. In the ensuing chase, officers saw Brown run several red lights including the light at Pulaski and Chicago, before crashing into three vehicles and injuring nine people. The injured included Mercado, who died later at McNeal Hospital from multiple injuries.

BWMK's lawsuit charges the City of Chicago with wrongful death and violation of the Survival Act, alleging that the pursuing officers failed to use emergency lights or sirens, failed to yield or abandon their pursuit when they should have known it could result in serious injury, and failed to exercise due care. The suit also names Brown as a defendant, accusing him of careless and negligent vehicle operation by speeding, refusing to yield or stop to avoid an accident and ignoring traffic lights, which led to the fatal crash. Damages in excess of $100,000 are being sought from each defendant.

In May 2013, BWMK's Elizabeth Kaveny secured a $5.25 million settlement to resolve a similar lawsuit on behalf of their client, Adam Copack against the Village of Merrionette Park. Copack suffered traumatic injuries when his vehicle was broadsided by a car being chased by a Merrionette Park police officer. At that time, Ms. Kaveny stated: "It's amazing how often police high-speed chases and pursuits end up with injuries of innocent bystanders — either motorists or pedestrians." That has again borne out in this past weekend's tragic occurrence.

Elizabeth A. Kaveny continuously obtains verdicts and settlements of plaintiff personal injury and professional malpractice actions in excess of $1 million and more recently, at more than $10 million each. She is widely respected for her success at securing just compensation for her clients regardless of the type or complexity of the action and has been recognized by Illinois Leading Lawyers Network and Illinois Super Lawyers as one of the state's top personal injury attorneys. Her exceptional care and concern for her clients was featured in the November 2012 issue of Leading Lawyers Magazine. Brian Monico has had a broad range of hands-on trial experience focused on wrongful death, professional malpractice and personal injury cases, with major responsibility for witness preparation and presentation of witness testimony at trial. He is a leader in the development and use of computer-generated graphics and electronic presentations in the courtroom. His areas of practice increasingly center on police misconduct.

Burke Wise Morrissey Kaveny has for nearly 20 years represented victims of negligence and their families in a wide range of liability litigation. The firm's broad knowledge, and extensive trial and mediation experience, have been instrumental in verdicts and settlement of more than $800 million for their clients.

The following can provide additional information upon request, including a copy of the complaint as filed:

Attorney Contact: Elizabeth Kaveny, [email protected], 312-580-2040

Media Contact to Elizabeth Kaveny:

Denise M. Henderson; [email protected] 312-848-0067