2019 motorcycle crash nets $5.3M settlement

By Jessie M. Molloy
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
May 19, 2021

Two Winnebago County motorcycle riders who were seriously injured in a 2019 crash have settled their case for $5.3 million.

Cook County Circuit Judge Karen L. O’Malley dismissed the case on May 12 following a mediation before retired Cook County judge Michael Hogan of ADR Systems.

Jeffery Rudd, of Machesney Park, and Kimberly Ingram, of South Beloit, were returning home from Madison on their motorcycles on Sept. 25, 2019, when the defendant, Marguerite Franklin, of Winnetka, did not stop at a stop sign and pulled into the intersection in front of them.

The plaintiffs were “riding staggered” headed south on Route 213 in Magnolia, Wis., when Franklin entered the intersection headed west on County Highway B, according to a firm issued news release.

“Initially she [Franklin] denied running the stop sign, but she eventually admitted she did it,” said Dudley & Lake LLC managing partner Kevin J. Golden, who represented Rudd and Ingram. “She just pulled out in front of both riders.”

Rudd was not able to stop and hit the rear passenger door of Franklin’s car, causing him to be thrown from the motorcycle. Ingram purposely tipped her motorcycle while it was moving to avoid running head on into Franklin’s vehicle.

Both plaintiffs were initially taken to Mercyhealth Hospital and Trauma Center in Janesville, however given the seriousness of the injuries, Ingram was transferred to UW Health University Hospital in Madison and Rudd was taken to Javon Bea Hospital in Rockford.

Rudd was intubated for 11 days and needed to be put on life support. He also suffered a hip fracture and nerve damage, resulting in a dropped foot, and a left wrist fracture which has significantly limited his range of motion.

Ingram sustained a fracture to her left tibia, a left degloving injury and a complete heel pad avulsion, in addition to several broken bones in her foot, according to the news release.

After extensive physical therapy, Rudd, 48, is able to walk with the use of a leg brace but still suffers from memory loss and depression due to a traumatic brain injury sustained in the crash, Golden said. He still needs further knee surgery and is likely to require a hip replacement in the future. Rudd is self-employed as a contractor renovating bars and restaurants, according to the release.

“He has made an amazing recovery,” Golden said. “His injuries were very severe, and they weren’t sure if he was going to survive at first, but he will likely have some problems for the rest of his life.”

Despite undergoing extensive surgeries to rebuild her leg and foot, it is possible Ingram, 47, will still need to have her left leg amputated below the knee, he said. Ingram recently returned to work at Exelon Generation Station, a nuclear power plant in Byron, on light duty. Whether or not she is able to save her leg, her injuries will prevent her from fully returning to her old position, according to the news release.

Rudd and Ingram filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court in October 2019.

Franklin was represented in the case by Vincent M. Casieri Jr., a partner at Schueler Dallavo & Casieri.

Golden noted that each of his clients’ cases could have been worth the $5.3 million settlement individually, but the settlement was limited by Franklin’s insurance policy. The final distribution of funds, which awarded slightly more money to Ingram, was determined by considering lost wages and the severity of the plaintiffs’ injuries and medical bills, he said.

“Five million dollars is a lot of money,” Golden said. “Thankfully, we were able to resolve it for my clients. They’re both good people. Hopefully, this will help them move on with their lives and make things easier for them in the future, because they both have a tough road ahead of them.”

The settlement is being paid by Chubb Insurance. Franklin was covered with a $5 million umbrella policy and $300,000 in auto insurance.

Dudley & Lake associate Alex Campos also represented the plaintiffs.

Casieri could not immediately be reached for comment.

The case is Jeffery Rudd, et al. v. Marguerite Franklin, 19 L 11417.