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Family of Illinois Little Girl Awarded $48 Million by Cook County Jury in Wrongful Death Suit

Posted by A. Lou Benassi | Dec 26, 2017 | 0 Comments

Children are the future, and each and every one of them deserves to be loved, secure, cared for and protected from neglect, exploitation and abuse in all of its variations. Every state in the nation fiercely shares this sentiment by criminalizing abuse against children and by augmenting child abuse prevention programs that are solely dedicated to ensuring that minors grow up in a healthy, nurturing environment. Despite the state's intentions to shield its youth from harm, some children unfortunately slip through the cracks of the system. When this occurs, the family of these children have the constitutional right to file a civil lawsuit against the state and/or its employees for failing them, especially in cases when the negligence of of an individual or program has proximately caused the death of a child.

The case

A family in Chicago, Illinois decided to exercise their right to pursue legal action, by alleging that the state's Department of Children and Family Services failed 8-year-old Gizzell Ford, who was found starved, strangled, and brutally beaten inside of her grandmother's apartment in 2013. Prominent pediatrician Dr. Norell Rosado, a social worker, and the state were named as defendants in the wrongful death suit.

Weeks before Gizzell's death, she had an appointment with Dr. Rosado. Her family claims that the Rosado didn't ask basic questions, properly document the girl's injuries he discovered in an examination, or alert the authorities about evident telltale signs that she underwent abuse.

During Rosado's testimony, he claimed he only found “nonspecific” and “nonsuspicious” abrasions on the girl's legs and buttocks that were not indicative of abuse. But the family's attorneys argued that this is a very common sign of child abuse, and he never asked about how she attained these abrasions. Rosado's attorneys, however, argued that the blame for Gizzell's death rests on her paternal grandmother, Helen Ford.

The jurors felt otherwise. According to recent articles, jurors were “blown away” by the crime scene photos and details of the injuries Gizzell sustained before her death. Apparently, the entire case was so horrific that the judge decided to stop listening to opening statements after a male juror began to sob uncontrollably.

“What happened to this little girl was really devastating and disturbing, so we took our role seriously,” said a 50-year-old juror who chose to remain anonymous.

The family's attorneys asserted that Rosado's failure to take action gave Gizzell's grandmother a “green light” to do what she did in the following weeks, and the court ultimately agreed. They awarded $48 million to the girl's family over the doctor's negligence.

Illinois Wrongful Death Attorneys

If your spouse, child, parent, or any other cherished family member has died as a result of another individual's, company's or entity's negligence, you may have a viable wrongful death claim for the mental suffering and grief you've endured. The attorneys at Benassi & Benassi have experience successfully handling wrongful death lawsuits for their clients in Illinois, and they can do the same for you. Contact us today for a shot at getting the justice your loved one deserves.

About the Author

A. Lou Benassi

A. Lou Benassi was born and raised in Taylor Springs, Illinois, a small mining and farming community located near Hillsboro, the county seat of Montgomery County, Illinois...


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