Glenview lawyer wins record payment for injured client
Jerry Powers and wife Rhonda of Lynwood
GLENVIEW — For Glenview attorney Richard Pullano, his record-high $14 million settlement will not return normalcy to his client’s life.
“Jerry Powers can no longer get up in the morning, walk around, go to the washroom and get ready for the day,” Pullano said.
“All because someone wanted to save two minutes in driving somewhere.”
In 2009, Powers lost use of his legs when a tow truck on I-94 rammed from behind a van he was traveling in on Chicago’s South Side.
According to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Powers’ settlement was the highest in Illinois for a person over 60.
Despite the large settlement, normalcy is a stretch for Powers.
“How much money do you need in exchange for having a normal life?” said Powers, a resident of south suburban Lynwood
“I don’t think any money is enough, and you never know what may happen in the future,” he said, recounting his muscle spasms, pressure sores on his feet and catheter infections.
On July 10, Powers and five other Union Pacific Railroad employees were carpooling in a southbound van on the way home.
While stopped on the expressway near 63rd St., their van was rear-ended by a driver for E & R Towing trying to change lanes.
Powers was a railroad electrician for 36 years.
A Cook County Circuit Court jury returned a $7.3 million verdict to the family of George Harris Jr., 40, a van passenger who was killed in collision.
“George was sitting behind me. He was a friend,” said Powers, 60.
In the complaint, Pullano stated the driver had an offense for driving under the influence of alcohol within three years of his hiring that he failed to disclose on his job application.
His driver’s license also was previously suspended five times.
The presiding judge excluded his driving record from the trial and the case focused whether he was negligent or not, stated the Law Bulletin.
“I spent two months in Stroger Hospital and another month rehabbing in an Oak Forest hospital,” Power said.
His injuries included a broken spine and ribs, lacerated liver, shattered shoulder and collapsed lungs.
“I’m in a wheelchair all day and use a stair chair to get downstairs. I’m on a suppository regimen for bowel movements,” Powers said.
“At first I was just trying to stay alive in the hospital. Everyday was a struggle.”
Pullano emphasized the results of reckless driving.
“The most important lesson here is the selfish decision that may have saved seconds or minutes, but had life-altering consequences,” he said.
“Saving two minutes will impact every minute of Jerry Powers’ life from here forward.”