Cavanagh Law Group partners Mike Sorich and Marc McCallister obtained a $2.256 million verdict against the City of Chicago on behalf of a cyclist who was seriously injured after being struck by a police SUV.
The incident occurred about 2:30 p.m. Oct. 21, 2017, as Alexander Garber rode his bicycle through the intersection of Bryn Mawr and Oriole avenues on Chicago’s North Side. Officer Patrick Cain, who was on duty and driving a marked Chicago Police Department SUV, failed to stop at a stop sign and struck Garber with the SUV.
The force of the impact caused Garber to roll on to the hood of the vehicle and then fall to the ground. He suffered permanent damage to his right shoulder, required a joint replacement and will likely need future surgeries.
According to evidence obtained by Cavanagh Law Group, Cain left the scene and failed to file a report about the incident, violating department policies. Cain had been on the force for 27 years.
The verdict was announced June 10, 2022, following a three-day trial that was delayed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hon. Toya T. Harvey of the Circuit Court of Cook County presided.
For nearly five years, the City of Chicago denied liability in the case. City attorneys changed course, however, immediately after Judge Harvey ruled on evidentiary issues at the start of the trial. The City finally admitted liability to prevent jurors from learning damaging information about Officer Cain’s actions.
“It is the Chicago Police Department’s policy that any officers involved in collisions need to stay on the scene, file a crash report, notify their supervisors and ensure that any injured parties receive medical attention,” Sorich said. “We conducted our own investigation and learned that Officer Cain failed to do all of those. Judge Harvey’s ruling meant that we would be able to show jurors information about police department procedures.”
Garber reported the incident two days after it occurred, which led to an internal affairs investigation.
The jury awarded Garber $2,256,085.41 for past and future medical bills, pain and suffering and the loss of a normal life.
“Our client was an active and athletic man who exercised every day and played in recreational sports leagues,” Sorich said. “He suffered a permanent injury to his right shoulder that has dramatically changed how he can live his life. We are pleased the jury fully understood and appreciated the full extent of the injuries that Mr. Garber will suffer from for nearly 40 years.”
Cain was placed on desk duty and either terminated or resigned from the force. He failed to attend the trial.