An Illinois judge's strict belief in unfounded accusations has prompted action from the Illinois Supreme Court. In what is deemed as an extremely rare move, Cook County Judge Daniel Lynch has been removed from a pending wrongful death case in civil court. His removal was demanded by a lawyer that alleged he had partook in a two-year “rolling inquisition” in the judge's quest to find a conspiracy that doesn't exist.
Court documents reveal that this isn't the first time Judge Lynch was removed from a case. Illinois' high court felt it appropriate to take him off of another wrongful death case last year due to similar allegations.
The latest case involved the death of Illinois native Bertha Winford, who died from mesothelioma. This form of cancer is commonly associated with a toxic mineral known as asbestos. Her family claims that she was heavily exposed to products containing the mineral while working at gas stations over the course of five years. In the lawsuit filed on Winford's behalf, her family listed five brake-equipment companies and one gasket manufacturer, John Crane International (JCI), as defendants.
Once the case went to trial, Lynch dismissed defendant JCI from the case. Immediately after this decision was made, the opposing legal counsel reached a settlement, much to Lynch's dismay. In an unexpected turn of events the judge accused JCI of conspiring with the plaintiff's attorneys with the agenda of keeping the case out of federal court. A year later he released a 270-page preliminary opinion that insinuated the plaintiff's lawyers were guilty of contempt.
Lynch previously resided over a case that involved the death of a Chicago woman named Hawa Sissoko, who passed away in a semi truck accident in Indiana. The judge had thrown out a $4.25 million award her family received when he found out that the deceased was married to a New York cabdriver at the time of her death. It turns out that Sissoko's uncle, Bangaly Sylla, had included in the court papers that she was unwed. Lynch charged Sylla with contempt of court and appointed a special prosecutor to take the case. Sylla was found guilty and was convicted to six years in prison - a verdict that Sylla's attorneys described as “extreme.”
“The ability of the Respondent Judge to discern unfounded suspicion from provable fact has collapsed,” said Lance Northcutt, an attorney in the Winford case. “The desperation of … (Lynch) to find a conspiracy where none exists is beneath the dignity of his office and only underscores the need for this Court's prompt intervention.”
The Illinois Supreme Court has yet to comment on Lynch's removal.
Illinois Wrongful Death Attorneys
If you believe that a loved one in your family has suffered a wrongful death, you should consult with an attorney. The legal professionals at Benassi & Benassi have represented people who have made claims for potential earnings of a decedent, future economic loss, or any medical expenses accrued prior to the death. Contact us today for a free consultation.