Questions? Call 312-332-1400 or email us
March 2019
If the Smoke Detector Had Been Working...

When the fire broke out in the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) building, Shlonzo Burnett and her one-year-old son, Michael, were inside, sleeping. They were pulled from the blaze but later died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

This tragedy happened because the people responsible for ensuring the unit had an operable smoke detector did not do their job. As the lead attorney, during the course of taking 50 depositions, I uncovered that the CHA had been instructing their contractors not to even look for smoke detectors. The contractors were simply told to indicate on their work orders that the devices were in working order. You can read more about the case here , which after close to five years settled for $5.75 million. 
Everyone at Lane & Lane knows first-hand the ramifications of negligence. And while we can't control what others do -- or don't do -- there are measures we can take to avoid unnecessary harm to ourselves and our loved ones. It's why we dedicate a portion of each newsletter to safety.

This month, with spring in mind (it's almost here!), we're featuring how to properly handle cleaning products and how to stay safe when traveling in an unfamiliar area .
In this newsletter we also highlight:

  • Partner Steve Lane in the media
  • A Lane & Lane employee
  • Upcoming Chicago-area events (if you like film, flowers, science, festivals or theatrical shows, be sure to scroll to the end of this newsletter)
As always, if you have any feedback about our newsletter, please send it. And if there is anything our Lane & Lane team can do to help you, your family, friends or colleagues, please call or email us. 

Mark A. Brown
312-332-1400 - office
Last month, a new video surfaced proving native Chicagoan R. Kelly sexually abused an underage girl. Shortly after, Lane & Lane Partner Steve Lane was interviewed by CBS news about the case.


March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month. More than 90% of poison incidents occur in residences, and most involve children. Here are guidelines to follow to ensure the safety of your family. 

  • Before using any cleaning product, read the directions and heed all warnings about ventilation, usage, and storage.

  • If you have young children and/or pets, keep them away from all cleaning products.

  • Never mix cleaning products. A common mistake is combining bleach with a cleaning product containing ammonia. This produces chloramine gas, which can damage eyes and lungs. 

  • Always store products in their original containers. You’ll always be able to re-check the directions and warnings and you’ll avoid mistaking one product for another.

Make sure you tightly seal the containers as soon as you’ve finished using them, and always store cleaning products out of the reach of children and pets.

If you have questions about potentially harmful substances,
contact the Illinois Poison Center at 800-222-1222. They provide a free,
24-hour hotline staffed by specially trained medical experts. 

Heading out of town? To ensure your safety, here are our recommendations.

If you’re driving to your destination, get your vehicle tuned up before you leave tow n . Stock it with safety supplies (e.g., flares, blankets) so you’re prepared for any bumps in the road. Once you’re on your way, take turns behind the wheel if possible. At the very least, make sure one passenger is always alert and chatting with the driver.

Bring a map . Yes, an actual paper map! (If you have children of a certain age they will likely laugh or roll their eyes when you show it to them.) Explain that you never know when you might lose cell service — and your GPS navigation.

Exploring a new area is fun, but wherever you end up, make sure you are equipped with information about your surroundings . Read online reviews from previous travelers, and ask trusted locals where you should and shouldn’t go as well as where to turn in an emergency. And before you leave town, in addition to printing out copies of important documents (IDs, insurance, medical, etc.), save them in a safe place online. It’s also a good idea to tell family or close friends about your travel plans so a trusted person can keep tabs on your whereabouts. 
Last month we shared a fun fact about an unidentified employee and invited readers to guess her identity. The correct answer was Deedra McKinney, featured below.

On behalf of the person who correctly identified Deedra, we are donating $25 to the 100 Club of Chicago , an organization that assists the families of first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

In 2006, legal assistant Deedra McKinney's employer, a personal injury attorney, told her he was retiring. She wanted to stay in her field and found her way to Lane & Lane. She's been an invaluable member of our team ever since.

Deedra handles court filing, schedules depositions, composes correspondence, orders court records, and maintains our partners’ calendars.
A Lasting Memory
Deedra once sang for the Congressional Black Caucus. As the lead singer in her church’s choir, she was front and center in this once-of-a-lifetime honor. 
Work Hard, Play Hard
“Weather permitting, I play volleyball with friends, either in my backyard or on the beach. I’m really good at chasing the ball!

“I spend a lot of time with my eight grandchildren. They range in age from 4-13. Sleepovers, parties, holiday gatherings… It’s what my mom did so it takes me back to my childhood. I love it.”

What Lies Ahead
“When I was in my early 20s, my dream was to have a secretarial service to cater to small business owners. I started a business, but I was also working full time and wasn’t in the financial position to make it work. It’s still a dream I would like to make happen. 

“Also on my bucket list: One day I will go to Africa. I will make that trip and take my grand-babies with me!"
Five of Deedra's eight grandchildren live in the Chicago/Illinois area.
Chicago European Union Film Festival  screens 62 new feature films from the 28 nations of the European Union at Gene Siskel Film Center. Through April 4.

Dance to Chicago jazz star Dandy Wellington and his band playing “jazz classics from the 1900s to 1940s” at  Spring Swing , with a cash bar and a chance to explore the International Museum of Surgical Science for age 21+. April 4, 7-10 pm. $50.

Money Smart Week  is a series of classes and activities designed to help you better manage your personal finances. Search for events near your zip code . Free. March 30-April 6.

Macy’s Flower Show  features flowers and exotic topiaries in landscapes, plus scheduled events at Macy’s on State Street. Free. March 24-April 7.
Circo Hermanos Vazquez features human cannonballs, graceful dancers, daring acrobats, and crazy clowns in a heated tent art North Riverside Park Mall. The show is visual, with announcements made in both English and Spanish. April 5-25.

Celebrate  National Robotics Week  on April 6-7 and 13-14 by viewing robots on display, interacting with some, hearing talks by robotics professors, and watching a live robotics competition at the Museum of Science and Industry.

April 13 is the Tinley Park Brew & Vine Festival  features breweries, vintners, restaurants, and live entertainment at Tinley Park Convention Center.

Restaurants compete to win the “Best of Fest” award at  WingFest , and your ticket includes unlimited samples at UIC Pavilion. For ages 10+. No pets.
If you or someone you care about has been injured by someone else's negligence or fault,
and you're ready to take action to obtain justice - the full, fair and complete compensation you deserve - please contact our Chicago-based personal injury law firm today.
Questions? Call us at 312-332-1400 or contact us .