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Bradley Cosgrove: $39.9 million jury award is Illinois record for stroke lawsuit

$39.9 million jury award is Illinois record for stroke lawsuit

Chicago Sun Times
Mar 1, 2024

Antonio DeAngelo still can’t walk long distances or drive, needs help to get dressed, bathe or eat, and his speech has been affected. He and his family plan to use part of the money to move to a wheelchair-accessible home.

Bradley Cosgrove, a partner at Clifford Law Offices, pushes his client Antonio DeAngelo’s wheelchair into a news conference at the law firm's Loop office on Friday, March 1, 2024.

Bradley Cosgrove, a partner at Clifford Law Offices, pushes his client Antonio DeAngelo’s wheelchair into a news conference at the law firm’s Loop office Friday.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times


Nine years after a stroke left him permanently disabled, Antonio DeAngelo still finds it difficult to get into and out of the shower, or do simple tasks around his house, which isn't wheelchair-accessible.

But $39.9 million could change that.

On Thursday, that's how much a Cook County jury awarded DeAngelo in a lawsuit filed over the medical care he received leading up to his 2015 stroke.

In the lawsuit, he and his wife, Jennifer DeAngelo, of Hoffman Estates, alleged his physician at Advocate Physician Partners failed to properly assess and treat his symptoms, which led to his stroke.

“The last nine years of our lives and that of our children have been a living hell,” Jennifer DeAngelo said at a Friday news conference. “Through their verdict, we hope to get the wheelchair access that Tony requires to get through the day.”

Antonio DeAngelo, a landscaper and landscape designer, went to a pharmacy in June 2014 because of a persistent cough. A clinician found his blood pressure was elevated and recommended he see a doctor to rule out hypertension.

In January 2015, he saw a physician assigned by Advocate Physician Partners, who treated the cough as bronchitis. The physician also expressed concern that DeAngelo was experiencing a pulmonary embolism, but did not treat his high blood pressure, conduct tests or admit him to the emergency room, according to court documents.

Four weeks later, he had a hemorrhagic stroke resulting from high blood pressure. He's since required physical, occupational and speech therapy and still can't walk long distances, drive, dress, bathe or eat without assistance. His speech also has been affected.

Bradley Cosgrove, the DeAngelos' attorney, said the stroke could have been prevented if a “proper standard of care medicine had been followed.”

The $39.9 million is the highest awarded in a stroke-related lawsuit in Illinois, according to Cosgrove.

In defending the suit, Advocate Physician Partners asserted it was not responsible for the actions of the physician because he was an independent contractor.

Once Advocate Physician Partners pays the verdict, the family plans to set up a charitable foundation to support people with aphasia, which Antonio DeAngelo developed as a result of his stroke. The condition, often caused by brain injuries, means he has trouble speaking and understanding what others are saying.

“He carries a business card in his pocket that says, ‘I have aphasia, not a lack of intellect, just a problem with speech,’” Cosgrove said.

The money will also mean the DeAngelos can get a more accessible home and cover other health expenses, including the around-the-clock care DeAngelo, 45, still needs.

To Jennifer DeAngelo, the decision means her family — she and her husband have two children, 8 and 11 — is finally seeing justice.

“Our kids are still young,” she said. “Not exactly sure how much of everything they understand. They don't know details, but they do look forward to life getting a little bit easier.”

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