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Cook County Jury Awards a Gross Verdict of $8.1 Million to Victim of Swimming Pool Accident
Date:11/30/2009

Lawyers from The Healy Law Firm secure the highest pool-related accident verdict in Illinois on behalf of man rendered an incomplete quadriplegic.

Chicago, IL (Lexis Nexis) November 30, 2009 -- A Cook County jury has entered an $8.1 million verdict in favor of an Irish immigrant carpenter, 22 years old at the time, who dove into a swimming pool and was rendered an incomplete quadriplegic. The verdict, which was reduced to $4,051,200 for the plaintiff's assumption of risk, is the highest pool-related accident verdict in Illinois.

The case, Duffy v. Togher, et. al., had previously been dismissed on the defendant's motion for summary judgment, based on the contention that the pool was an open and obvious hazard. However, the appellate court, in a 2-1 opinion (382 Ill.App.3d 1 (1st Dist. 2008), reversed the summary judgment order, finding that the open and obvious hazard is not a complete defense against a products liability recovery. The Illinois Supreme Court denied the defendant's petition for leave to appeal.

The plaintiff was represented by Martin Healy, Jr., founding partner of The Healy Law Firm and Immediate Past Chair of the Products Liability Section of American Association for Justice (AAJ), and Jack Cannon and Dennis Lynch, members of the firm.

On July 15, 2001, after closing a 4 a.m. bar, Don Duffy was invited by a friend to go for a swim in an in-ground pool at a south suburban home. He had never been in a pool in the U.S., but was familiar with the typical deep end/shallow end pool from experiences in Ireland and elsewhere. He entered the south shallow end of the pool through full width stairs and felt the slope of the bottom giving downward toward the north end of the pool. There weren't any s
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