The company that owns Yellow Cab filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, less than nine hours after a Cook County jury awarded $25.9 million in damages to a Chicago lawyer severely injured in a Yellow Cab accident.
A Yellow Cab spokesman said the city’s 1,600 Yellow Cabs will continue to operate as usual, and that the company will appeal the verdict.
In the bankruptcy filing, recorded at 3:45 a.m. Wednesday, Yellow Cab listed assets between $1 million and $10 million, and liabilities led by the verdict totaling $10 million to $50 million.
The injured lawyer’s lead attorney, Robert Clifford, said Wednesday he believes the bankruptcy filing was “a long-planned ploy to avoid responsibility” for paying the judgment.
A Yellow Cab spokesman had no response to the accusation.
The verdict awarded damages to Marc M. Jacobs, a partner at Chicago real estate firm Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nabelberg, at the time of the accident.
Jacobs was returning home in a cab to Hinsdale after a late dinner with a client on Aug. 31, 2005, when the cab driver careened out of control, “vaulted” 32 feet through the air and slammed into a concrete barrier, causing Jacobs to suffer severe permanent brain damage and inability to continue his career, according to the complaint. Jacobs’ wife, Deborah, became her husband’s primary caregiver after the incident.
Another attorney for the Jacobses, Timothy Tomasik, said the seven-man, five-woman jury issued a verdict that “speaks to the fact that this can never happen again.”
Clifford said he believes the verdict will lead to a change, much as other verdicts have forced airlines and hospitals to take responsibility for their employees’ conduct and training, and companies’ quality of service, safety and protection.