A person’s home is supposed to be a safe place. Unfortunately, sexual assault at an apartment complex is all too common due to inadequate security and landlord negligence. The following outlines a recent successful settlement for one Chicago resident obtained by Sinas Dramis partner and attorney, Jim Graves.
Recently Jim Graves and co-counsel Jennifer Irmen of Irmen Law Group, LLC successfully settled a complicated apartment complex sexual assault case in Chicago’s Cook County Circuit Court. An $800,000 settlement on behalf of his client was obtained in early August as the jury trial in the case commenced.
The case arose from a sexual assault at night in the laundry room of a Chicago multi-unit residential building owned and managed by the defendants. Graves’ client was a tenant in the building. It is theorized the assailant accessed the victim after entering 3 doors and passing through a sidewalk metal gate that was missing a lock, according to the Chicago Police Department investigation. The police never apprehended the assailant and there were no eyewitnesses.
The basis of the defendants’ argument was the 3 doors had locks and should have prevented the tenant from being sexually assaulted. Furthermore, it was argued that, under Illinois law, the defendants are not legally responsible for the criminal acts of others.
Understanding the importance of this sexual assault at an apartment case, Graves retained the services of a private investigation firm early-on. This firm obtained specific statistical data which Graves used to argue the attack on his client was foreseeable by the defendants. Graves also argued the building’s perimeter and laundry room doors were not secure enough or in compliance with recognized national security standards for commercial properties. Furthermore, he contended the locks didn’t meet Chicago building code requirements.
Extensive pre-trial discovery and witness depositions took over 3 years. Graves also obtained favorable testimony from nationally-recognized property security and sexual assault experts in support of his client’s theory of the case and her damages. Graves argued the defendants breached their legal duty as landlords to provide adequate safety for their tenants from criminal assaults. The settlement provides support to the victim for her damages and also avoids a lengthy appeal in the case.
About Jim Graves
Jim Graves is committed to seeking justice for those injured by the wrongdoing or negligence of others in the states of Michigan and Illinois, including victims of sexual assault. He has steadfastly represented numerous Sister Survivor clients of disgraced former MSU sports doctor, Larry Nassar. An unprecedented $500 million global settlement was reached earlier this year on behalf of all Sister Survivors.