A Cook County, Illinois, jury awarded $148 million to a woman paralyzed from the waist down by a falling pedestrian shelter at O’Hare International Airport. Twenty-four-year-old Tierney Darden was waiting to be picked up from O’Hare with her mother and sister on an August 2015 afternoon when a storm gust loosened a pedestrian shelter that weighed more than 750 pounds. The shelter came loose and fell on Darden, severing her spinal cord.
The city of Chicago had admitted liability in the case. The jury returned the verdict after a 10-day trial solely on damages. Ms. Darden was a dancer and student at Truman College when she was paralyzed. The City of Chicago and the City of Chicago Department of Aviation were named as Defendants.
After the incident, it was learned the shelter had missing bolts. A subsequent investigation at O’Hare found other shelters also had missing bolts as well as corroded parts or broken brackets.
Ms. Darden is represented by Patrick A. Salvi, Jeffrey J. Kroll, Tara R. Devine, Patrick A. Salvi II, and Eirene N. Salvi of the firm Salvi Schostok & Pritchard. The case is Tierney Darden v. City of Chicago et al., (case number 2015 L 008311) in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.