Does Rosemont Hotel Face Civil Liability Following Death of Teenager in Kitchen Freezer?

Multiple news outlets reported last month that the unusual death of teenager Kenneka Jenkins at a Crown Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois was ruled an accident. The Rosemont Police Department issued a statement her death was accidental and said there was “no evidence that indicated any other conclusion.” There was no sign of date-rape drugs in her toxicology reports, the office said.  “Our detective reported no signs of foul play throughout the whole investigation… there is no evidence that Ms. Jenkins was forced to drink alcohol or consume any narcotics while at the hotel.”

Surveillance video from the hotel shows the teenager stumble into the kitchen area, before disappearing around a corner. The footage does not show her entering the freezer.

Right now it does not appear that that anyone from the party Ms. Jenkins attended nor will anyone from the hotel will face criminal charges. The question remains whether the hotel will face civil liability for Ms. Jenkins death. The short answer is absolutely. It is my understanding her family has retained legal counsel, and they are no doubt investigating this matter as we speak.

A civil suit against the hotel will most likely contain at least two (2) counts. One for negligence and one for premises liability. The premises liability count will allege that a defective condition on the property caused Ms. Jenkins death. The negligence count must show that the behavior of the hotel staff and/or security was not reasonable and thus caused her to end up in the freezer.

The difficulty for the plaintiff in this type of case comes with the difficulty of proving causation. The plaintiff will have to show, under both the premises and negligence counts, that the hotel’s actions (or inactions) proximately caused the death. Proximate cause is best described as whether it was foreseeable that this woman would end up in the freezer based on their negligent actions or defective condition on the property. Just because a plaintiff can show negligence or defective conditions, does not necessarily mean that these were the proximate cause. Plaintiffs must do their best at showing that whatever was done wrong, i.e. lack of proper locks, lack of security etc… could foreseeably lead to someone who has been drinking alcohol to wander into the kitchen and eventually the freezer. Without knowing more of the facts in this case it would be hard to predict the outcome. I will say that this will be the most contentious issue should this case lead to litigation.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago premises liability accident, or Chicago personal injury case, please call Chicago accident attorney, Aaron J. Bryant for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076,

KC Royals Latest Team To Extend Protective Netting Behind Home Plate

Reigning World Series Champion Kansas City Royals are the latest franchise to announce that they will extend protective netting all the way up the first and third base lines. They are following a recommendation made by Major League Baseball’s commissioner’s office that all 30 teams extend protective netting beyond the typical area directly behind home plate.

The Royal’s netting will extend to the end of each dugout, which will reach first and third base (approximately 90 feet). The Royals along with Phillies, Rays and Cubs have also said they would follow the recommendation. These teams, along with Major League Baseball, are doing the right thing by extending the netting. There have been numerous injuries at various venues, including at Boston’s Fenway Park last summer when a woman was rushed to the emergency room after taking a baseball to the head.

Baseball franchises have protected themselves from civil liability for years by adding a waiver of liability on the back of each of their tickets, stating that by paying for admission into a game they are agreeing to waive any liability to the major league franchises for any injuries that come from flying baseballs, bats etc… Many states, including Illinois, have imposed statutes protecting major league sports teams from civil liability for injuries that could arise from balls flying into the stands and injuring someone. These waivers and statutes have made it virtually impossible for fans to seek compensation for injuries they may have received for these types of accidents. I believe teams have been reluctant to extend netting in the past because they did not want to open the door to future litigation by admitting that the lack of netting created a dangerous atmosphere for fans. Regardless, this is the right move and I believe prevent serious personal injuries to fans that are sitting defenseless to lightening fast line drives and broken bats.

I would like to see all 30 baseball franchises extend their protective netting.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago personal injury case or Chicago car crash, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

No Injuries Reported After Bricks Fall From Loop Building

Several Chicago news outlets reported this morning that several bricks fell from a downtown loop high rise at the 200 block of West Van Buren. Building inspectors have been notified.

Thankfully no one was hurt from this incident. I bring this up because several months back a woman lost her life when she was struck by a gargoyle that fell from a Presbyterian church in the South loop. That church had failed multiple inspections in the past, including for unstable structures at the top of the building.  The church failed annual inspections twice in 2011; and in 2010, 2009 and 2007, according to records from the buildings department.

One of the citations from the last failed inspection included “failing to maintain exterior walls of a building or structure free from holes, breaks, loose or rotting boards or timbers and any other conditions which might admit rain or dampness to the walls.”

It is important for the inspectors in this building that had falling objects this morning to locate the issue and hold the building’s owners accountable to ensure that the proper corrections are made. This includes all unstable or potentially unstable objects to be secured properly. This was not done by the church in the South loop last year and it cost a family to lose their mother. The odds of someone being struck by an object are minute but it can happen as it did in the South loop last year, and all possible precautions should be taken.  In that case the the church is facing a wrongful death claim on behalf of the woman’s surviving children,  alleging that they did not properly secure objects which were known to be unstable.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago premises accident or Chicago construction accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.