Kenneth J. Allen & Associates - Injury Attorneys
Illinois and Indiana Personal Injury Lawyers and Attorneys Trial and Civil Litigation Law Firm.
Passion. Commitment. Excellence.
Those three words best describe the driving forces behind Kenneth J. Allen & Associates. Our firm is devoted exclusively to the practice of Accident and Injury Law, and exclusively to the people - not corporations - seriously hurt or killed in incidents as varied as on-the-job accidents, semi-truck crashes, injuries from a defective product, or loss of life because of a doctor's medical malpractice.
As the only multi-state law firm in Valparaiso Indiana, Merrillville Indiana, Indianapolis Indiana, Northwest Indiana, Chicagoland, Joliet Illinois, Tinley Park Illinois, Chicago Illinois accepting serious injury and wrongful death cases, exclusively, Kenneth J. Allen & Associates is experienced and knowledgeable in the details and procedures that can make or break a case.
Monday-Friday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Valparaiso - Mr. & Mrs. Allen donated $1,000 to the Unite 2 Fight Paralysis & the Northwest Indiana Spinal Cord Injury Walk. The walk was held at the Porter County at the Old Fairgrounds Park on September 21st. Hundreds attended the event. It
BY ANNETTE ARNOLD
219.548.4359 | Saturday, August 30, 2008 |
VALPARAISO | Kindergartners at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School received a gift from local attorney Kenneth J. Allen on Friday morning.
Allen and his wife, Nina, donated money to United Way of Porter County so that all kindergartners in Lake, LaPorte and Porter counties would be equipped with child ID kits.
The goal is to equip parents with a record containing their child's DNA, fingerprints, photos so that they can provide this data immediately to the authorities in case a child turns up missing.
Melissa Castle-Kirincic, resource development director with United way of Porter County, handed out the kits to the children.
"From Ken and Nina's very generous gift to United Way, we've dispersed more than 18,000 child ID kits, thus far, to elementary schools throughout Lake, LaPorte and Porter counties," Castle-Kirincic said.
Allen spoke to the kindergartners in Elaina Spratley's class.
"You kids are all very special," Allen said. "It is important that you talk to mom and dad about safety, and it is important to know about strangers. Always stay by people you know."
Allen said credit for the donation goes to his wife.
"This was my wife's idea," Allen said. "We want kids to take these kits home and have a discussion with their parents about safety and strangers."
BY MARISA KWIATKOWSKI
| Friday, July 04, 2008
CROWN POINT | Eighteen-month-old Christopher Bartzis' last words were "Uh oh, Mommy," said his father, Chris Bartzis.
When the beaming little boy died of meningitis April 17, 2002, his Hammond family shattered.
"He was the best baby I've ever seen in my life, and not just because he was mine," said Bartzis, now of Whiting. "He was the light in our home and in our family."
Chris and Karen Bartzis accepted a $1.25 million settlement last month from the Indiana Patient's Compensation Fund and Munster-based pediatrician Azra Sheriff in connection with their son's death. The now-divorced couple sued Sheriff in Lake County Superior Court after a medical malpractice panel found in 2006 that the doctor committed malpractice in caring for the toddler.
It is the second time a panel determined malpractice in Sheriff's care of a patient, the state compensation fund's online database shows.
Only 10 percent of complaints filed with the panel are found to involve malpractice, according to a Times review of data in the Indiana Patient's Compensation Fund 2007 annual report.
Although it found malpractice in the Bartzis' case, the medical panel determined Sheriff's conduct did not harm or cause the death of Christopher.
"Dr. Sheriff gave excellent care in this case," said the doctor's attorney, Sharon Stanzione. "We do not feel she did anything wrong. However, we were very concerned about the sympathy factor to a jury, given the death of a child from meningitis. It was in all the parties' best interests to have the matter resolved."
The Bartzises contend Sheriff caused their son's death by incorrectly diagnosing his meningitis as a stomach problem.
"Dr. Sheriff was not vigilant or in tune with (Christopher's) symptoms," said attorney Kenneth J. Allen, who represented the Bartzises. "She was not doing anything to alleviate them."
Christopher died of an "extremely rare" form of meningitis, Stanzione said.
Sheriff had vaccinated the child against the most common types of meningitis, Stanzione said, adding Sheriff has been a doctor more than 25 years and is board certified in pediatrics and neonatology.
Christopher's first symptoms showed up April 6, 2002, after a birthday party, court records say. The normally cheerful toddler was irritable, throwing up and screaming.
Karen Bartzis tried to take her son to Sheriff but didn't have enough money for the visit, Allen said. Instead, she brought him to an emergency room, where personnel sent him home.
Christopher continued to get worse, so Karen Bartzis brought him to Community Hospital in Munster, where he was put back under Sheriff's care.
He continued to decline. On April 12, 2002, Christopher had a seizure.
The family and Sheriff say they initiated Christopher's transfer to the University of Chicago Hospitals, where he was diagnosed a short time later with meningitis.
An antibiotic treatment and brain surgery failed to cure Christopher, and he died April 17, 2002.
The medical panel determined Sheriff's actions on the last day of Christopher's stay at the Munster hospital amounted to malpractice, claiming the doctor should have done a spinal tap and administered antibiotics earlier.
"It's the most devastating thing that's ever happened to me," Chris Bartzis said. "I've dealt with a lot of death in my life ... but he was so young."
May 17, 2008
The family of a Gary Roosevelt High School math teacher who was killed when a tractor-trailer rear-ended her van two weeks ago has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the trucking company
Kenneth J. Allen, a Valparaiso attorney who represents the family, filed the lawsuit against Schneider National Carrier Inc. of Gary and its driver, Justin R. Wallace of Pennsylvania.
Allen called the death "clearly avoidable" and a result of "negligence." He's filed a petition for a temporary restraining order to preserve crash evidence.
"We are trying to protect this family's right to know the truth," Allen said. "This was a tragedy for the family and the community."
According to documents filed in Lake Circuit Court on Friday, Wallace was driving a tractor-trailer with Schneider logos on May 4 west on U.S. 30 near County Road 300W in Columbia City, when he "violently struck" the Oldsmobile van driven by Gates. The van was stopped at a signal light in front of another vehicle.
Gates, 59, had been a Gary teacher for more than three decades and participated in the Amateur Athletic Union with Gary-area children.
Allen said he met with her husband, Samuel W. Gates, who was a passenger during the crash, and prepared the case.
"We intend to hold the responsible defendants fully accountable for the harm they caused," Allen said. "She was a gifted teacher who inspired her students to do better, and she will be missed."
The request for a restraining order forbids alteration of any truck equipment, including any onboard event recorder and electronic control module -- which may have data on the truck's speed, brake conditions, and hours of services.
Allen said he believes the crash was caused by Schneider cutting back on maintaining costly safety standards due to the high price of diesel gas.
"It's a trend we don't want to see continued," Allen said
BY KEN KOSKY
219.548.4354 | Tuesday, April 08, 2008 |
Attorney Kenneth J. Allen -- who helped a Valparaiso man win a $20 million verdict against Allstate insurance company in 2006 -- said at the time that Allstate acts in bad faith by making policyholders choose between a poor settlement or a long, drawn out legal fight.
Allen said the company's "scheme" to divert money from policyholders to shareholders will be out in the open now that the company was forced into publicly releasing the "McKinsey Documents." The documents include 150,000 pages of records detailing the plan Allstate implemented in 1995 to increase profits by reducing claims payouts, Allen said.
Allen said a Florida appellate court upheld the suspension of Allstate's license in the state for refusing to provide the McKinsey Documents to Florida's insurance commissioner. Rather than lose its business in Florida, Allstate then released the documents, Allen said.
Allstate spokesman Mike Siemienas said the documents were not released due to the Florida decision, but rather for several reasons, including the need to address misunderstandings.
Siemienas said trial lawyers, who have a vested interest in painting Allstate in a negative light, do so by taking snippets of the documents out of context. He said Allstate settled millions of claims last year and earned high rates of policy renewal.
"We pay the appropriate amount in a timely manner," Siemienas said.
Allen, however, said insurers traditionally pay out 70 cents on the dollar for claims, but Allstate began paying 52 cents on the dollar to return millions to shareholders.
Allen said the client for whom he won $20 million, Ted K. Fields, suffered spinal injuries in a 1995 crash. After the insolvency of the insurer for the person who caused the crash, Allstate became responsible under the uninsured motorist coverage it sold Fields.
Fields suffered $7,000 in medical bills and $18,000 in lost wages, but Allen said Allstate forced Fields into a nearly 10-year battle. Allen said many people yield to Allstate's tactics, but Fields would not.
Allen said a doctor and psychiatrist testified during the two-week trial that the stress caused by Allstate's actions contributed to Fields' rise in blood pressure, which led to heart problems and a stroke.
"Allstate's misconduct in dragging out the Fields' claims followed the McKinsey plan to the letter," Allen said.
The $20 million awarded to Fields by a Lake County jury was appealed by Allstate, but Allen expects a decision on the appeal within 30 days.
Siemienas said there was a case against Allstate in Kentucky in which the McKinsey Documents were presented in context and the jury found in favor of Allstate. He said Allstate was justified in fighting the release of the 150,000 pages of documents because they contain trade secrets, and he said they also contain ideas never implemented.
| Tuesday, December 25, 2007 |
VALPARAISO | For the past ten years, Northwest Indiana injury attorney Kenneth J. Allen and his wife, Nina, have given thousands of gifts to needy children during the Christmas holiday. Last year, for example, the Allens gave $50 to every child living in area shelters during the holidays, distributed by United Way partner agency shelters in the form of gift certificates which enabled parents or guardians to select suitable gifts for each child. In years past, the Allens have spent tens of thousands of dollars buying, and often wrapping, gifts for needy children.
"This year we decided to do something slightly different," said Nina Allen. "We wanted to make a gift of safety and security to the families with young children in all of Northwest Indiana."
Through a generous gift to the UNITED WAY, the Allens are funding the purchase of Child Identification kits for every Kindergarten-aged child in Lake, LaPorte and Porter Counties public and private schools. Each of the self-contained kits provide the tools and instructions for taking fingerprints, DNA samples, photos, and dental records of the children.
"These I.D. kits will provide vital information to law enforcement if a child should go lost or missing," injury attorney Allen said. "They should also provide a sense of security and safety to parents and serve as a gentle reminder to them to speak with their children about personal safety."
"In the end, it's ultimately about our kids and their safety," said Allen, who was the recipient of the Fifth Annual Child Safety Advocate Award "for outstanding dedication in forwarding the issues of child safety" awarded by the I.U. School of Medicine and the Indiana Safe Kids Coalition.
The Allens also plan a public awareness campaign on the importance of obtaining an I.D. kit beginning early next year.
"If only one lost or missing child is located because of these kits, or a child's abduction is prevented, our efforts will be richly rewarded," said the Allens.
--The NWI Times
BY KEN KOSKY
219.548.4354 | Tuesday, October 16, 2007
A $50 million lawsuit was filed Monday against the city of Gary and its Police Department for failing to find two young men ejected from a car during a crash one month ago.
The young men -- Brandon Smith and Dominique Green, both 18 -- were found dead by family members hours after the crash. Personal injury attorney Kenneth J. Allen, who is representing Green's parents, alleges in the lawsuit Green was alive at the time police ignored pleas to search for the pair.
"There is no excuse for what the officers did not do at the scene of this crash," Allen said.
"It shocks the conscience and can't be tolerated."
Assistant Gary City Attorney Jerome Taylor declined comment on the lawsuit.
Allen plans to seek court permission to exhume Green's body to find evidence to contradict an earlier autopsy report from the Lake County coroner's office that says the young men died instantly.
Allen contends Green's body had extensive bruising and swelling, indicating he was alive after the crash.
Lake Superior Court Judge William Davis has issued an injunction preserving evidence in the case, like the 911 tape Allen said supports his clients' contention that police knew there were missing accident victims but did not search for them.
Allen and his clients, Willie Green Jr. and Jacquelyn Green, also dispute the Police Department's contention that the bodies were 95 to 120 feet from the crashed car. He said family members quickly found the teens just 15 feet from the crash site.
The single-vehicle crash occurred about 1:30 a.m. Sept. 15 in the 2700 block of Chase Street in Gary. The driver, 17-year-old Darius Moore, and a surviving passenger, both pleaded for police to find Smith and Green, Allen said.
The lawsuit, which names responding Gary police Officer Jeff Westerfield, the Police Department and the city, seeks $50 million. But Allen and his clients said the lawsuit is all about finding the truth and making sure the city changes its protocol so that this type of incident doesn't happen again.
Allen said it is "criminal" what happened to the victims, and he said the Gary Police Department showed disregard for human life. Green's mother said she knows her son was alive after the crash, and her son is not with her today because of police negligence.
"The closure (for the family) will come when the truth comes out," Allen said.
He said he has not talked to the Smith family about representing them.