Corboy & Demetrio Obtains $6 Million Settlement for Family of Dancer Killed by Train

Michael K. Demetrio Settles Lawsuit on First Day of High-Profile Trial
March 23, 2012

On the first day of a high-profile trial, Michael K. Demetrio of Corboy & Demetrio obtained a $6 million dollar settlement for the family of a Chicago dance instructor who was killed at a railroad crossing in University Park, Illinois, nearly two years ago. 

The victim, 26, who lived in Chicago and was dancer and dance instructor, was driving home from a dance competition at Governor’s State University on April 16, 2010, when she was hit by a high-speed train after railroad crossing signals failed to warn her of the oncoming train.

The wrongful death lawsuit, which sought loss of society damages, was filed by the victim’s father on behalf of her estate.  The suit claimed the railroad crossing signals were deactivated earlier in the day for maintenance work and were never turned back on, leaving the crossing completely unprotected.  Thereafter, Corboy & Demetrio pursued and obtained through the discovery process, evidence that included a video of the crash.  Defendant Illinois Central Railroad Company then fully admitted liability for the victim’s death.

The jury, which was selected Monday, was to decide solely the issue of damages.  The defendant agreed to settle the lawsuit for $6 million hours later Monday night.  Opening statements were scheduled to begin Tuesday morning in the courtroom of Cook County Circuit Judge Deborah Mary Dooling.

The victim taught at the Joffrey Ballet School in Chicago and the School of Performing Arts in Naperville, and danced with the Hip Hop Connxion and the Chicago Dance Theater.   She was returning home from watching her students perform at a dance competition the night she died.

“This is a reflection of how  special our client was to her parents and to her brother and sister, and very importantly this will allow her family to continue to pursue the important contributions to society that she pursued through the fund established in her name,” said Michael K. Demetrio.