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Serious and Fatal Injuries Verdicts
$1,986,485 – Verdict
John R. Gorey and Thomas W. Stewart – Trial Attorneys
Negligent Supervision – Drowning – Wrongful Death
Offer Before Trial: $475,000
Plaintiff was a 9 year-old special needs child that was enrolled in a summer day camp operated by a Christian youth ministry in Joliet, Illinois. The day camp escorted the campers to a swimming facility that included a wading lake with a depth of 5 feet at its center where the children were permitted to play in the water. The facility was not staffed with certified lifeguards and the day camp did not provide certified lifeguards to supervise the children, relying instead upon its counselors and volunteers. Shortly after the children entered the wading lake, the plaintiff was found by a fellow camper unconscious under the water. He was given CPR by the camp director and was revived by the paramedics and taken by ambulance to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he was admitted in critical condition to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Sadly, the extent of brain damage caused by the lack of oxygen from the drowning was too great for the child to survive his injuries and he died one week later. Curcio Law Offices originally filed suit in Cook County against the day camp and the swimming facility but the case was removed by the defendants to Will County, which is perceived as a more conservative and defendant friendly venue. At trial, the defendants claimed that they were unaware of the plaintiff’s cognitive disabilities and were also not informed by his family that he was unable to swim. The day camp argued to the jury that the child’s special needs were concealed from the day camp by the family so that he would be able to participate in a mainstream day camp with higher functioning children, rather than a special needs camp with lower functioning children, and that had the day camp been made aware of the child’s special needs he would not have been permitted to participate in their camp activities or would have been monitored more closely. At trial, John R. Gorey of Curcio Law Offices argued that both of the defendants were responsible for the plaintiff’s drowning death due to their inadequate staffing and training and their negligent supervision of the children. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff and against both defendant and the resulting verdict of $1,986,485 was over four times greater than the defendants combined pre-trial offer.