BWMK Secures $5.25 Million Settlement from Village of Merrionette Park for Traumatic Injuries Suffered in Auto Accident

The Village of Merrionette Park has agreed to pay a $5.25 million settlement to resolve a lawsuit brought by the law firm of Burke Wise Morrissey Kaveny (BWMK). The suit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court by BWMK Partner Elizabeth Kaveny on behalf of the firm's client Adam Copack, who suffered traumatic injuries when his vehicle was broadsided by a car driven by defendant Michael O'Donnell, who was being chased by defendant Merrionette Park Police Officer John Longini.

The settlement represents the Village of Merrionette Park's full insurance amount of $5 million and an extra $250,000 as compensation for Copack's injuries and his future medical care. Copack was injured while proceeding through a Chicago intersection on the green light when his vehicle was broadsided by a car driven by defendant O'Donnell, who was being chased by defendant Officer Longini. The fleeing suspect was chased out of Merrionette Park and into Chicago on suspicion of driving under the influence. As a result of the collision Copack was ejected from his vehicle, suffered skull, facial and spinal cord fractures as well as a closed head injury, and was rendered an incomplete quadriplegic.

"More than five years after the collision our client still has effects from his traumatic brain injury, and still has significant deficits as a result of his spinal cord injury," Ms. Kaveny stated. "His medical bills have already been substantial and, as he is now only in his thirties, he will require an expensive life care plan for the future. We are pleased to have reached this settlement before his case went to trial, so that his care needs are assured." His therapy continues, but as a recent news story shows he has yet to resume his full job with a Chicago law firm, needs an electronic device to walk – and may never be able to pick up and cradle his newborn child. All these consequences, Ms. Kaveny added, stemmed from a police response to "relatively benign traffic offenses" that sparked the high-speed pursuit; that response was a major factor leading Merrionette Park and its insurer to settle the case out of court.