Defendant’s Answer to Respiratory Care Negligence Complaint

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Independence Plus, Inc.'s Answer to Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint

Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC, Stetson F. Atwood, I.D. #32878, Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC, Stetson F. Atwood, Brian A. Corby, 140 South Dearborn Street, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60603, Telephone: (312) 422-0900, Facsimile: (312) 422-0909.

Judge Ronald Pirrello.

Now Comes the Defendant, Independence Plus, Inc., by and through its attorneys Stetson F. Atwood and Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC, and for its Answer to Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint states as follows:

COUNT I

Wrongful Death 740 ILCS 180 Independence Plus, Inc.

1. At all times relevant hereto, the Plaintiff, Teresa Zagal, individually and as Special Administrator of the Estate of Evelyn Zagal, Deceased, and next best friend of Evelyn Zagal, Deceased, and Alex O'Campo, a minor, was a resident of Winnebago County, Illinois.

ANSWER : This Defendant admits the allegations contained in paragraph 1 of Count I of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

2. At all times relevant hereto, the Defendant, Independence Plus, Inc., was a home care specialist company providing home care services to “catastrophic survivor” patients. Defendant's place of business is located at 6707 North Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois, Cook County.

ANSWER : This Defendant admits that it provides home health care services to patients and that it is located at 6707 North Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois, Cook County. This defendant denies the remaing allegations contained in paragraph 2 of Count I of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

3. On or about April 12, 2005 Independence Plus, Inc. contracted with the Plaintiff, Teresa Zagal, to provide home care services and nursing care to her daughter, Evelyn Zagal.

ANSWER : This Defendant admits the allegations contained in paragraph 3 of Count I of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

4. Evelyn Zagal, a minor child, had a tracheostomy site on her body through which a trachea cannula was inserted. The tracheostomy and inserted cannula was necessary to maintain the airway of Evelyn Zagal.

ANSWER : This Defendant admits the allegations contained in paragraph 4 of Count I of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

5. That Independence Plus, Inc. hired Edna Briggs-Gunther as their employee and allowed Edna Briggs-Gunther to provide home care services to Evelyn Zagal.

ANSWER : This Defendant admits the allegations contained in paragraph 5 of Count I of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

6. On and about May 9 and 10, 2006 Evelyn Zagal required observation and skilled nursing care to monitor her respiratory status and to maintain the patency of her tracheostomy cannula.

ANSWER : This Defendant admits the allegations contained in paragraph 6 of Count I of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

7. Evelyn Zagal's home was equipped with monitoring devices and life saving medical equipment ordered by her medical providers.

ANSWER : This Defendant does not have sufficient information to admit or deny the allegations contained in paragraph 7 of Count I of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint and, therefore, said allegations are denied.

8. It was the duty of the Defendant, by and through its employees and agents, and apparent agents to possess and apply the knowledge and use the skill and care ordinarily used by reasonably well-qualified medical personnel in the same or similar circumstances as alleged herein.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies that the allegations contained in paragraph 8 of Count I of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint correctly state the nature of any legal duties it owed to the Plaintiffs on the Plaintiffs' decedent.

9. That the Defendant, by and through its' employees, agents and apparent agents, including specifically, but not limited to Edna Briggs-Gunther, Tamara Muller, and Celeste Clark, was negligent in the care and treatment of Evelyn Zagal in one or more of the following respects:

a. Failed to observe that the patient had decannulated;

b. Failed to establish an airway before alerting a family member;

c. Failed to establish an airway;

d. Failed to promptly perform resuscitation when required;

e. Failed to monitor;

f. Failed to provide supplemental oxygen;

g. Failed to avoid decannulation;

h. Failed to continuously observe Evelyn Zagal;

i. Failed to provide adequate nursing care to Evelyn Zagal;

j. Failed to treat pain and discomfort;

k. Failed to note evidence of suffocation;

l. Failed to protect Evelyn Zagal from injury;

m. Handled the child in a rough manner thus causing decannulation;

n. Failed to comply with the Illinois Nurse Practice Act;

o. Accepted the assignment to attend to Evelyn Zagal despite knowledge that she lacked the necessary nursing skills to properly attend to the child;

p. Accepted the assignment to attend to Evelyn Zagal despite her sleepless state that prohibited her from being mentally alert to properly attend to the needs of the child;

q. On information and belief was sleeping on duty at the Zagal home;

r. Had consumed medications that affected her alertness and impaired her ability to attend to Evelyn Zagal;

s. Misrepresented her qualifications regarding pediatric training;

t. Failed to ensure qualified nursing personnel were in place to attend to the needs of Evelyn Zagal, a disabled infant.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 9 of Count I of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint including subparagraphs (a) through (t) thereof.

10. That as a direct and proximate result of one or more of the aforesaid negligent acts or omissions, Evelyn Zagal suffered severe anoxia and multi-system organ failure and was declared brain dead and died on May 11, 2006 as a result of suffocation and asphyxiation.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 10 of Count I of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

11. The acts and omissions of employees, agents and apparent agents of Independence Plus, Inc. including specifically, but no limited to: Edna Briggs-Gunther, Tamara Muller, and Celeste Clark, deprived Evelyn Zagal of an opportunity to survive or recover from her condition.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 11 of Count I of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

12. That Evelyn Zagal left surviving her mother and father, Teresa and Carlos Zagal who have been deprived of their child's love, affection, companionship, friendship, comfort and society and her brother Alex O'Campo a minor, who has been deprived of his sister's love, affection, companionship, comfort and society.

ANSWER : This Defendant does not have sufficient information to either admit or deny the allegations contained in paragraph 12 of Count I of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint and, therefore, said allegations are denied.

WHEREFORE, this Defendant, Independence Plus, Inc., denies that it is liable to the Plaintiffs in any amount whatsoever and prays for the entry of judgment in its favor and against the Plaintiffs with costs assessed to the Plaintiffs.

COUNT II

Family Expense Act 750 ILCS 65/15 (a)(1) Independence Plus, Inc.

1-11. Plaintiff realleges and reaffirms paragraphs 1 through 11 of Count I as paragraphs 1 through 11 of this Count II as though fully set forth verbatim herein.

ANSWER : This Defendant restates and incorporates by reference its answers to paragraphs 1 through 11 of Count I as its answers to paragraphs 1 through 11 of Count II of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint as though fully set forth herein.

12. As a direct and proximate result of one or more of the foregoing acts of negligence of the Defendant, the Plaintiff was caused to incur medical expenses in an effort to be cured of her illness and injury and expended necessary expenses for the decedent's funeral, burial, and related services.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 12 of Count II of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

WHEREFORE, this Defendant, Independence Plus, Inc., denies that it is liable to the Plaintiffs in any amount whatsoever and prays for the entry of judgment in its favor and against the Plaintiffs with costs assessed to the Plaintiffs.

COUNT III

Survival Action Independence Plus, Inc.

1.-11. Plaintiff realleges and reaffirms paragraphs 1 through 11 of Count I as paragraphs 1 through 11 of this Count III as though fully ser forth verbatim herein.

ANSWER : This Defendant restates and incorporates by reference its answers to paragraphs 1 through 11 of Count I as its answers to paragraphs 1 through 11 of Count III of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint as though fully set forth herein.

12. That as a direct and proximate result of one or more of the aforesaid negligence acts, Evelyn Zagal was inured and died and suffered personal and pecuniary damages, including her pain and suffering, including but not limited to the pain of suffocation and pain and suffering due to lack of oxygen and to the death of the organs of her body prior to her death and had she survived she would have been entitled to bring an action for such damages and such action survived her death.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 12 of Count III of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

13. That pursuant to 755 ILCS 5/27-6, the Plaintiff, Teresa Zagal individually and as Special Administrator of the Estate of Evelyn Zagal, deceased, has the right to bring this survival action.

ANSWER : This Defendant does not have sufficient information to either admit or deny the allegations contained in paragraph 13 of Count III of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint and, therefore, said allegations are denied.

WHEREFORE, this Defendant, Independence Plus, Inc., denies that it is liable to the Plaintiffs in any amount whatsoever and prays for the entry of judgment in its favor and against the Plaintiffs with costs assessed to the Plaintiffs.

COUNT IV

Res Ipsa Loquitor Independence Plus, Inc.

1.-8. Plaintiff realleges and reaffirms paragraphs 1 through 8 of Count I as paragraphs 1 through 8 of this Count IV as though fully set forth verbatim herein.

ANSWER : This Defendant restates and incorporates by reference its answers to paragraphs 1 through 8 of Count I as its answers to paragraphs 1 through 8 of Count IV of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint as though fully set forth herein.

9. That on or about May 9 and 10, 2006 Evelyn Zagal was a patient of Independence Plus, Inc.

ANSWER : This Defendant admits the allegations contained in paragraph 9 of Count IV of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

10. That Evelyn Zagal was an infant incapable of monitoring her own tracheostomy site and ensuring its' placement and patency.

ANSWER : This Defendant admits the allegations contained in paragraph 10 of Count IV of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

11. That Evelyn Zagal relied in Independence Plus, Inc. to provide a nurse to continuously monitor and protect her tracheostomy site and to ensure the continuous placement and patency of her tracheostomy cannula and to resuscitate Evelyn.

ANSWER : This Defendant does not have sufficient information to either admit or deny the allegations contained in paragraph 11 of Count IV of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint and, therefore, said allegations are denied.

12. That at all times pertinent hereto the duty to monitor the tracheostomy site was in the sole and exclusive control of an employee, agent and/or apparent agent of Independence Plus, Inc. namely Edna Briggs-Gunther, R.N.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 12 of Count IV of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

13. That the selection of the nurse to monitor the placement and patency of the tracheostomy site and cannula and to specifically prevent decannulation and, in the event of decannulation to act immediately to restore the site and to resuscitate Evelyn, was in the sole and exclusive control of Independence Plus, Inc.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 13 of Count IV of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

14. That on May 9th at 11:00 p.m. through May 10, 2006 up to and including the time of the respiratory arrest of Evelyn Zagal, the nursing care of Evelyn Zagal was in the sole and exclusive control of Edna Briggs-Gunther an employee of Independence Plus, Inc.

ANSWER : This Defendant admits the allegations contained in paragraph 14 of Count IV of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

15. While Evelyn Zagal was in the care of the employees, agents or apparent agents of the Defendant, Independence Plus, Inc., Evelyn Zagal suffered severe and permanent injuries which resulted in her suffocation, severe suffering, death of her body organs and death.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 15 of Count IV of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

16. That the injuries to Evelyn Zagal would not have occurred in the absence of negligence on the part of the Defendant, Independence Plus, Inc. by their agents, employees and apparent agents, including but not limited to Edna Briggs-Gunther, Tamara Muller and Celeste Clarke.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 16 of Count IV of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

17. That the Defendant, Independence Plus, Inc., by its agents, employees and apparent agents including but not limited to Edna Briggs-Gunther, Tamara Muller and Celeste Clarke had a duty to avoid negligence in the care and treatment of Evelyn Zagal.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies that the allegations set forth in paragraph 17 of Count IV of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint correctly set forth the nature of any duties it owed to the Plaintiffs or the Plaintiffs' decedent.

18. That as a direct and proximate result of one or more of the aforesaid negligent acts, Evelyn Zagal was inured and died and suffered personal and pecuniary damages, including the pain of suffocation and pain and suffering due to lack of oxygen and due to the death of the organs of her body prior to her death.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 18 of Count IV of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

WHEREFORE, this Defendant, Independence Plus, Inc., denies that it is liable to the Plaintiffs in any amount whatsoever and prays for the entry of judgment in its favor and against the Plaintiffs with costs assessed to the Plaintiffs.

COUNT V

Negligent Hiring, Training and Placement Independence Plus, Inc.

1.-8. Plaintiff realleges and reaffirms paragraphs 1 through 8 of Count I as paragraphs 1 through 8 of this Count V as though fully set forth verbatim herein.

ANSWER : This Defendant restates and incorporates by reference its answers to paragraphs 1 through 8 of Count I as its answers to paragraphs 1 through 8 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint as though fully set forth herein.

9. That prior to May 9 and 10, 2006 Edna Briggs-Gunther was hired at Independence Plus, Inc.

ANSWER : This Defendant admits the allegations contained in paragraph 9 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

10. That the only pre-employment in person interview of Edna Briggs-Gunther was one conducted by Independence Plus, Inc., Scheduling Coordinator Nicole Stracka, said interview was conducted at a bookstore.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 10 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

11. That Nicole Stracka is not a registered nurse.

ANSWER : This Defendant admits the allegations contained in paragraph 11 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

12. That Independence Plus, Inc. had a duty to perform a background check on Edna Briggs-Gunther prior to placing her in the home of Evelyn Zagal, a disabled infant.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies that the allegations contained in paragraph 12 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

13. That Independence Plus, Inc., had a duty to perform an investigation to determine that Edna Briggs-Gunther had adequate skills and training to monitor and manage the tracheostomy tube in the neck of Evelyn Zagal and to prevent decannulation and to act promptly in the event of decannulation and to resuscitate Evelyn Zagal if required.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies that the allegations set forth in paragraph 13 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint correctly state the nature of any duty it owed to the Plaintiffs or the Plaintiffs' decedent.

14. That on May 9 and 10, 2006 Edna Briggs-Gunther was not certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Support.

ANSWER : This Defendant admits the allegations contained in paragraph 14 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

15. That prior to the care of Evelyn Zagal, Edna Briggs-Gunther had not previously provided home care to a pediatric hygroma patient who had a tracheostomy cannula in place.

ANSWER : This Defendant does not have sufficient information to either admit or deny the allegations contained in paragraph 15 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint and, therefore, said allegations are denied.

16. That Independence Plus, Inc. failed to provide skills lab training to Edna Briggs-Gunther to train her in the home care, including avoidance of decannulation, treatment of decannulation and resuscitation of a pediatric hygroma patient who had a tracheostomy cannula in place.

ANSWER : This Defendant admits that it did not provide the specific training referenced in paragraph 16 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint to Ms. Gunther, this Defendant denies the remaining allegations contained in paragraph 16 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

17. That Independence Plus, Inc. required nurses attending to Evelyn Zagal to be trained in “IPI Vent and SCI training.”

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 17 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

18. That Independence Plus, Inc. failed to provide “IPI Vent and SCI training” to Edna Briggs-Gunther before placing her in the home of Evelyn Zagal.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 18 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

19. That at the time of hiring and placement into the home of Evelyn Zagal, Edna Briggs-Gunther lacked the requisite skills and training to provide home care services to a pediatric hygroma patient who had a tracheostomy cannula I place including skills and training in the avoidance of decannulation treatment of decannulation and resuscitation.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 19 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

20. That Independence Plus, Inc. did not require Edna Briggs-Gunther to be certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) prior to placing her in the home of Evelyn Zagal.

ANSWER : This Defendant admits the allegations contained in paragraph 20 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

21. That employees, agents and apparent agents of Independence Plus, Inc. knew or should have known that on or about May 9 or 10, 2006 Edna Briggs-Gunther also had employment as a nurse on the day shift at a Rockfordnursing home.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 21 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

22. That employees, agents and apparent agents of Independence Plus, Inc. knew or should have known that Edna Briggs-Gunther claimed she had the daily responsibility for raising the children of her deceased daughter.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 22 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

23. That Independence Plus, Inc., by and through its employees, including but not limited to Tamara Muller and Celeste Clarke, had a duty to determine the fitness for duty of Edna Briggs-Gunther prior to assigning her to night shift duty at the home of Evelyn Zagal.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies that the allegations set forth in paragraph 23 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint correctly state the nature of any duties it owed to the Plaintiff or Plaintiffs' decedent.

24. That Celeste Clarke, Independence Plus, Inc. Director of Social Work and Director of Human Resources knew or should have known that on or about May 9 and 10, 2006 Edna Briggs-Gunther also had employment was a nurse on the day shift at a Rockford nursing home.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 24 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

25. That Tamara Mueller President of Independence Plus, Inc. knew or should have known that on or about May 9 and 10, 2006 Edna Briggs-Gunther also had employment as a nurse on the day shift at a Rockford nursing home.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 25 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

26. That agents, employees and apparent agents of Independence Plus, Inc. knew or should have known that Evelyn Zagal required diligent, constant observation and care to monitor her airway and tracheostomy cannula and to protect her from decannulation.

ANSWER : This Defendant admits that the allegations set forth in paragraph 26 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

27. That Celeste Clarke, Independence Plus, Inc. Director of Social Work and Director of Human Resources knew or should have known that Evelyn Zagal required diligent, constant decannulation.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 27 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

28. That Tamara Muller knew or should have known that Evelyn Zagal required diligent, constant observation and care to monitor her airway and tracheostomy cannula and to protect her from decannulation.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 28 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

29. That agents, employees and apparent agents of Independence Plus, Inc. knew prior to placing Edna Briggs-Gunther in the home of Evelyn Zagal that Edna Briggs-Gunther has been reported to be “sleeping soundly on the job.”

ANSWER : This Defendant admits that in 2004 one of Ms. Gunther's peers stated that a family stated that Ms. Gunther had fallen asleep on the job. This Defendant denies the remaining allegations contained in paragraph 29 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

30. That agents, employees and apparent agents of Independence Plus, Inc. knew or should have known that Edna Briggs-Gunther's lack of training and skills created unfitness for the position of homecare nurse to Evelyn Zagal so as to create a danger of harm to Evelyn Zagal.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 30 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

31. That agents, employees and apparent agents of Independence Plus, Inc. knew or should have known that Edna Briggs-Gunther's propensity for sleeping on the job created unfitness for the position of homecare nurse to Evelyn Zagal so as to create a danger of harm to Evelyn Zagal.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 31 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

32. That agents, employees and apparent agents of Independence Plus, Inc. knew or should have known that Edna Briggs-Gunther's daytime job and home schedule prevented her from having the required degree of alertness on night shift and created an unfitness for the position of homecare nurse to Evelyn Zagal so as to create a danger of harm to Evelyn Zagal.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 32 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

33. That on or before May 9 and 10, 2006 Defendant, Independence Plus, Inc. had a duty by and through its agents, servants, employees and nurses to exercises that degree of skill and care in the hiring, training and placement of Defendant Edna Briggs-Gunther in the home of Evelyn Zagal, as required of home health care services, servants, employees, agents and apparent agents in the same or similar localities.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies that the allegations set forth in paragraph 33 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint correctly state the nature of any legal duties that it owed to the Plaintiffs or Plaintiffs' decedent.

34. That not withstanding the above mentioned duty, the Defendant, Independence Plus, Inc., by and through its' agents, employees and apparent agents including specifically, but not limited to: Tamara Muller and Celeste Clarke, committed one or more of the following acts of negligence:

a. Failed to follow its' own policies and procedures in checking the references of Edna Briggs-Gunther;

b. Negligently hired Edna Briggs-Gunther;

c. Negligently retained Edna Briggs-Gunther;

d. Negligently placed Edna Briggs-Gunther in the Zagal home;

e. Failed to provide “IPI Vent and SCI training”;

f. Failed to provide Pediatric Advanced Life Support certification;

g. Failed to provide training to Edna Briggs-Gunther;

h. Failed to provide specifics instructions regarding the care of Evelyn Zagal;

i. Presented and held out the Defendant, Edna Briggs-Gunther, to the Zagal family as a person who was qualified and fit to perform in home nursing services for Plaintiffs' decedent, Evelyn Zagal, when it knew or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known she was not so qualified, fit, adequately trained, or competent to render pediatric care to Plaintiffs' decedent, Evelyn Zagal.

j. Presented and held out the Defendant, Edna Briggs-Gunther, to the Zagal family as a person who was qualified and fit to perform in home nursing services for Plaintiffs' decedent, Evelyn Zagal, when it in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known she was unfit for right shift duties as she was employed in a full time day position, had responsibility for the care of her grandchildren and had been found sleeping soundly on the job and utilized medications that impaired her alertness, therefore increasing the likelihood of her lack of attentiveness, sleeping and lethargy rendering her unqualified or unfit to perform pediatric nursing services exposing Plaintiffs' decedent, Evelyn Zagal to an unreasonable risk of harm.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 34 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint including subparagraphs (a) through (j) thereof.

35. That as a direct and proximate result of one or more of the aforesaid negligent acts, Evelyn Zagal was injured and died and suffered personal and pecuniary damages, including the pain of suffocation and pain and suffering due to lack of oxygen and due to the death of the organs of her body prior to death.

ANSWER : This Defendant denies the allegations contained in paragraph 35 of Count V of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint.

WHEREFORE, this Defendant, Independence Plus, Inc., denies that it is liable to the Plaintiffs in any amount whatsoever and prays for the entry of judgment in its favor and against the Plaintiffs with costs assessed to the Plaintiffs.

COUNT VI

Wrongful Death 740 ILCS 180 Edna Briggs-Gunther

The allegations contained in Count VI of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint are not directed against this Defendant and, therefore, this Defendant makes no answer thereto.

COUNT VII

Family Expense Act 750 ILCS 65/15 (a)(1) Edna Briggs-Gunther

The allegations contained in Count VII of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint are not directed against this Defendant and, therefore, this Defendant makes no answer thereto.

COUNT VIII

Survival Action Edna Briggs-Gunther

The allegations contained in Count VIII of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint are not directed against this Defendant and, therefore, this Defendant makes no answer thereto.

COUNT IX

Res Ipsa Loquitor Edna Briggs-Gunther

The allegations contained in Count IX of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint are not directed against this Defendant and, therefore, this Defendant makes no answer thereto.

COUNT X

Wrongful Death-Negligence Tamara Muller

The allegations contained in Count X of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint are not directed against this Defendant and, therefore, this Defendant makes no answer thereto.

COUNT XI

Family Expense Act 750 ILCS 65/15 (a)(1) Tamara Muller

The allegations contained in Count XI of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint are not directed against this Defendant and, therefore, this Defendant makes no answer thereto.

COUNT XII

Survival Action Tamara Muller

The allegations contained in Count XII of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint are not directed against this Defendant and, therefore, this Defendant makes no answer thereto.

COUNT XIII

Res Ipsa Loquitor Tamara Muller

The allegations contained in Count XIII of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint are not directed against this Defendant and, therefore, this Defendant makes no answer thereto.

COUNT XIV

Negligent Hiring, Training and Placement Tamara Muller

The allegations contained in Count XIV of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint are not directed against this Defendant and, therefore, this Defendant makes no answer thereto.

COUNT XV

Wrongful Death-Negligence Celeste Clarke

The allegations contained in Count XV of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint are not directed against this Defendant and, therefore, this Defendant makes no answer thereto.

COUNT XVI

Family Expense Act 750 ILCS 65/15 (a)(1) Celeste Clarke

The allegations contained in Count XVI of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint are not directed against this Defendant and, therefore, this Defendant makes no answer thereto.

COUNT XVII

Survival Action Celeste Clarke

The allegations contained in Count XVII of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint are not directed against this Defendant and, therefore, this Defendant makes no answer thereto.

COUNT XVIII

Res Ipsa Loquitor Celeste Clarke

The allegations contained in Count XVIII of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint are not directed against this Defendant and, therefore, this Defendant makes no answer thereto.

COUNT XIV

Negligent Hiring, Training and Placement Celeste Clarke

The allegations contained in Count XIV of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint are not directed against this Defendant and, therefore, this Defendant makes no answer thereto.

WHEREFORE, this Defendant, Independence Plus, Inc., denies that it is liable to the Plaintiffs in any amount whatsoever and prays for the entry of judgment in its favor and against the Plaintiffs with costs assessed to the Plaintiffs.

DONOHUE BROWN MATHEWSON & SMYTH LLC

By: <<signature>>

Stetson F. Atwood

I.D. #32878
DONOHUE BROWN MATHEWSON & SMYTH LLC
Stetson F. Atwood
Brian A. Corby
140 South Dearborn Street, Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60603
Telephone: (312) 422-0900
Facsimile: (312) 422-0909

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