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October 2013

Gordon & Rees Chicago Team Win Dismissal of Wrongful Death Suit

On Oct. 21, Gordon & Rees partners Ryan Brown and Paul Gamboa of Chicago won dismissal of a wrongful death and survival action on behalf of their client, CareSouth Health System, Inc.

Germain “Frenchy” Maurais migrated to the United States in 1935 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy four years later.  For his service in World War II, he was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, three Purple Hearts, the Navy Commendation Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation, and two Good Conduct Medals.  He also was awarded medals from the governments of Great Britain, the Republic of China, the Philippines, and the British Solomon Islands in addition to campaign medals for serving in all three theaters of operations in WWII. 

In July 2010, while a resident of the co-defendant’s assisted-living facility, Maurais fell in a restroom and the staff did not find him until the following day.  He subsequently was diagnosed with a fractured hip, and it was alleged that these injuries eventually led to his death.  The plaintiff, as special administrator of his estate, filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of Cook County.  CareSouth Health System, Inc. was added as a defendant in the Second Amended Complaint.

In Gina Dawson v. CareSouth Health System, Inc., the plaintiff alleged that CareSouth Health System, Inc. was contracted to provide personal care and services to Maurais, and that it failed to report him missing from his room.  As a result of its negligence, the plaintiff alleged Maurais suffered injuries and died.  

Within two weeks of being retained, Brown and Gamboa removed the case to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  One week later, after marshaling the necessary supporting evidence, they moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s suit for lack of personal jurisdiction.  The defendants argued that the plaintiff named the wrong “CareSouth” entity; that jurisdiction could not properly attach pursuant to Illinois’ long-arm statute because CareSouth Health System, Inc. had no contacts with the state; that it was not “doing business” in Illinois as that term is defined by state statutory law; and that, considering its lack of contacts, the imposition of jurisdiction would offend considerations of federal and state constitutional law.

After a preliminary hearing on the defendant’s motion, and within two months of Gordon & Rees’s engagement, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the suit with prejudice. 

Ryan T. Brown
Paul Gamboa