Yellow Cab's bankruptcy filing leaves $26M jury verdict in limbo

The Cook County Record Mar. 19, 2015, 9:33am

A former Chicago lawyer who was severely injured in a 2005 crash while riding in a cab is going to have to wait and see when, or if, he will get the nearly $26 million a jury awarded him earlier this week.

Hours after a Cook County jury entered a verdict Tuesday night in favor of Marc M. Jacobs and his wife, Yellow Cab Affiliation Inc., the defendant’s Chicago-based parent company, filed for bankruptcy early Wednesday, a move that will leave the multi-million dollar award in limbo until the bankruptcy is resolved.

Lawyers for the couple said in a news release that they obtained the $25.9 million jury verdict for their clients on Tuesday, after a seven-man-five-woman jury spent three hours deliberating following a two-week trial before Cook County Circuit Judge Daniel J. Lynch.

The verdict stems from the lawsuit over the 2005 accident that left Jacobs permanently brain damaged. At the time of the crash, Jacobs was a 44-year-old real estate partner at Barrack Ferranzzano Kirschbaum & Nabelberg in Chicago.

Jacobs, according to the news release, took a Yellow Cab after having dinner with a client to his Hinsdale home on Aug. 31, 2005, when the taxi that “was speeding on I-294 as it exited at Ogden Avenue” lost control and “suddenly vaulted 32 feet through the air and slammed into a concrete barrier.”

The jury initially assessed nearly $25 million in damages to Jacobs, and about $4.5 million in damages to his wife, Deborah, for loss of consortium, but those amounts were then reduced by 12 percent, awarding Jacobs about $22 million and his wife nearly $4 million, according to the release.

The verdict came down Tuesday night and Yellow Cab’s parent company filed for Chapter 11 in Chicago’s Bankruptcy Court overnight Wednesday. The bankruptcy filing provides the company protection from its creditors until the proceeding is resolved. The company’s filing lists the Jacobs as creditors.

Chicago attorney Bob Clifford of Clifford Law Offices said, “It is unquestionable that the taxi company, as the apparent principal for the driver, was negligent in this horribly tragic case.”

Clifford represented the Jacobs, who now live in California, with Timothy Tomasik, a former colleague at Clifford Law Offices who now practices at Tomasik Kotin & Kasserman.

“It is terribly sad that this man’s life is profoundly changed when he was in his prime.  The jury verdict speaks to the fact that this can never happen again,” Tomasik said in the release.

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