Crain’s Chicago Business Highlights Passen $19 Million Verdict
Case: Estate of Mariano Hernandez v. the Catholic Bishop of Chicago
Court: Circuit Court of Cook County
Date: September 2007
Lead plaintiffs’ lawyer: Stephen M. Passen of Passen & Powell
The family of Mariano Hernandez was awarded $19.0 million in a verdict against the Archdiocese of Chicago for injuries the boy suffered in 2003 when a TV cart fell on him at St.Genevieve Catholic School. Mariano suffered brain injuries and will require ongoing care, says Stephen M. Passen, his attorney. The archdiocese admitted liability before trial, so the jury’s verdict involved only the award amount. The defense argued that Mariano’s injuries were partially related to undiagnosed, pre-existing conditions such as ADHD and dyslexia. But his teacher testified that at the time of the accident, Mariano, who was in fourth grade, was working at grade level. Now in eighth grade, he is in special-education classes and working at a third-grade level.