UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR

THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS

 
 


COMPLAINT

PARTIES AND JURISDICTION

  1. Plaintiff is a citizen of Arkansas.
  2. Plaintiff resides in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, living at 5878 Northgate Parkway, Apartment 5.
  3. Defendant Bicycle Messengers, Inc., is an Illinois corporation with more than 15 employees and has its principal place of business at 565 East Adams Street, Chicago, IL.
  4. Defendant Yamahonda is a Delaware Corporation with its principal place of business in Rock Hall, Maryland.
  5. Plaintiff is a 23-year old male who has been physically active all his life, playing on the starting football, basketball and baseball teams in high school, and competing in intramural sports in college.
  6. Plaintiff holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.
  7. Plaintiff has worked as a bicycle messenger for defendant Bicycle Messengers, Inc. since 1 February 2004.
  8. On 15 February 2012, plaintiff purchased a “Penumbra Sport” motorcycle from defendant Yamahonda’s dealer on Shermer Road in Northrook, IL.
  9. On Saturday, 5 March, 2012, plaintiff decided to ride his motorcycle to a remote area of Lake County, Illinois for the afternoon. By the time plaintiff began his return trip, it had begun to rain.
  10. As plaintiff approached the overpass where Interstate 94 crosses under Illinois state route 173, his motorcycle began to skid sideways and plaintiff could not control it.
  11. The motorcycle, with plaintiff still on the seat, struggling to bring the vehicle back under control, left the pavement, and hit a part of the overpass structure, known as an “abutment.”
  12. When plaintiff’s motorcycle hit the bridge abutment, plaintiff’s left leg was severed above the knee.
  13. As a result of this accident resulting in the traumatic amputation of his leg, plaintiff required several surgical procedures on his residual limb and remained hospitalized until 25 March 2012.
  14. Plaintiff has completed a rigorous program of rehabilitation, beginning during his hospitalization, during which he learned to use a state-of-the art prosthetic leg with a computerized knee joint known as a “Rheo Knee.”
  15. As part of his rehabilitation program, plaintiff participated in and continues to participate in a wide range of strenuous athletic activity, including swimming, hiking, bicycling, skiing, sailboarding and running.
  16. This court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1332.

COUNT I – NEGLIGENT DESIGN BY DEFENDANT YAMAHONDA

  1. The allegations of paragraphs 1 to 16 are incorporated herein by reference as though fully set forth.
  2. Defendant Yamahonda negligently designed the motorcycle leading to plaintiff’s injuries by failing to include leg protection, including but not limited to “side bars”.
  3. Defendant Yamahonda willfully and recklessly disregarded the risks to persons such as plaintiff in designing the motorcycle so as to omit leg protection.
  4. Had such leg protection been provided on plaintiff’s motorcycle, he would not have suffered the amputation of his leg.
  5. Wherefore plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages in such amount as the court may find just, but in any event in excess of $75,000.

COUNT II – VIOLATION OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT BY DEFENDANT BICYCLE MESSENGERS, INC.

  1. The allegations of paragraphs 1 to 16 are incorporated herein by reference as though fully set forth.
  2. Plaintiff suffers from a disability in that he suffers from an impairment—the amputation of his left leg—that substantially limits major life activities such as walking, running, kneeling, squatting, and driving an automobile.
  3. After plaintiff recovered from his injuries and completed rehabilitation, he reported for work, on 9 May 2011.
  4. On 9 May 2012 and thereafter, plaintiff was and has remained qualified to perform all the essential functions of his job as a bicycle messenger.
  5. When he entered the dispatcher’s office to report for work as alleged in paragraph 24, the dispatcher told plaintiff that his employment had been terminated, stating, “It’s ridiculous for you to think that a one-legged bicycle messenger can do the job.”
  6. The termination of plaintiff’s employment constituted discrimination on account of a disability, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 12112.
  7. Plaintiff filed a charge with the EEOC and received a “right to sue” letter on 20 September 2012.
  8. Wherefore plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages in such amount as the court may find just, but in any event in excess of $75,000.