Chicago Man Sues Former Attorney and Loyola For Abuse by Mother

logo_insideThere is an interesting lawsuit filed in Chicago where Carlos J. Carillo, 23, is suing attorney Stacey Platt and the Loyola Child Law Center for representing him as a minor during a divorce proceeding with his parents but not acting on their knowledge of his mother’s child abuse.

Carillo alleges that Platt “was very aware of the severity and frequency of abuse” that Carrillo’s mother inflicted on him and his siblings but did nothing to try to protect them. He cites a police report showing that his mother pulled a knife on him and threatened to stab him. He states that his mother also stabbed his father in the chest. There are also three court orders requiring his mother to get anger management counseling. He alleges that her abuse ruined his life and wants $500,000 from Platt and Loyola University. He also demands funding for mental health treatment and free college.

The case in intriguing not only due to the passage of time (and possible statute of limitations) but the theory of liability. It is analogous to the famous 1976 ruling in Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California. and the imposition of liability on a university. See Tarasoff opinion. In that case, Prosinjit Podder, a graduate student at Berkeley, fell in love with Tatiana Tarasoff. When she stated that she wanted to date other men, Podder went to counseling at the University Health Service and is treated by psychologist, Dr. Lawrence Moore. When he told Moore that he wanted to get a gun and kill Tarasoff, Moore sent a letter to campus police who interviewed Podder and decided that he was not a risk. Podder then went ahead and murdered Tarasoff.

In a controversial decision, Justice Mathew O. Tobriner held that “… the confidential character of patient-psychotherapist communications must yield to the extent that disclosure is essential to avert danger to others. The protective privilege ends where the public peril begins.” As a result, the hospital was held liable for the criminal actions of a third party — something that usually (but not always) cuts off proximate causation. (It also rejected strong arguments made by doctors that such liability would create a chilling affect on counseling. A large number of patients often express their anger by focusing it on individuals and stating an intent to “kill that guy.” In the vast majority of such cases, the open disclosure is addressed and defused. However, if the patient knows that the doctor will have to tell authorities, such feelings are less likely to be expressed and addressed.)

In this case, there is no privilege issue but there is a question of responsibility for the abuse. He is essentially alleging malpractice against the lawyer and the school for failing to fully investigate or act upon evidence of abuse. The proximate causation between that alleged breach and the later injury, however, may be difficult to establish. Either way, this could be a very significant ruling for lawyers and public interest organizations working as guardians or representatives.

There is a conspicuous lack of detail on how Platt allegedly knew about this abuse — reinforcing the suspicion of a frivolous lawsuit. Platt has had a long and distinguished career in the representation of low-income children. The Center itself is also highly regarded for its work on behalf of children. To sustain a case of this kind, Carillo will need to show clear proof of knowledge of abuse. There is an obvious desire among child advocates to keep children with their biological parents and mothers are often given primary custody.

Even if he can prove such actual knowledge, I would be interested in how he tolled the statute since years have passed since he reached the age of majority. None of this takes away from the sympathy for this man’s obviously tragic life. However, he may not find the responsibility or the relief lies with his former counsel.

For the full story, click here.

19 thoughts on “Chicago Man Sues Former Attorney and Loyola For Abuse by Mother

  1. This is an espcially interesting case to me since my daughter is a 3L at Loyola Law School. I agree with Professor Turley that the Loyola Child Law Center is well respected. I would be surprised if attorney Platt did anything improperly. It will be interesting to see what comes out as this case progresses, if it does not get dismissed.

  2. From reading attorney Platt’s bio and other information, she certainly appears to be an altruistically minded attorney who genuinely cares about her low-income clients.

    Where would those poor—mostly underrepresented—clients be without the selflessness’ of the Platt’s of the legal world?

  3. Abuse is a mess to deal with, in practice. The indications are often, at best, indirect and often hinge on one person’s word against another’s. In social work and in psychotherapy relationships, there’s often an attempt to work with the suspected abuser and minimize the exposure to specific information that would trigger mandatory reporting, because premature intervention may backfire (as took place in the therapist’s effort in Tarasoff). The filing makes no mention of the father’s behavior, so it’s unclear whether this was a household where both parents were problematic–I wouldn’t be surprised if the father also had “issues”. Moreover, violent behavior often involves provocation. There’s mention of subsequent drinking problems and fights and current unemployment, but not much context for considering how he got to his current situation.

  4. SOL problem can be handled in this case if it is determined that he is a mental case as the man did not have the requsite capacity. Then the next issue would be who is the proper person to bring an action such as this? Next of Friend a GAL. However I agree that the SOL is an issue to contend with here as it reads.

  5. “Even if he can prove such actual knowledge, I would be interested in how he tolled the statute since years have passed since he reached the age of majority.”

    ****************

    Plaintiff may be able to argue he recently learned of the negligence since Illinois subscribes to the “discovery rule” in tort cases which holds that the cause of action accrues when the nature of the injury and the wrongful conduct which caused it is discovered or should have been discovered through the exercise of ordinary care. Clay v. Kuhl, 189 Ill. 2d 603, 608, 727 N.E.2d 217, 220 (2000). The issue of proximate cause invariable gets mixed up with notions of duty since foreseeable injury is the bedrock of both concepts. I think the Rowland case imposes the duty here and plaintiff’s allegations of direct and indirect abuse would get this past a motion to dismiss in my estimation:

    “In analyzing this issue, we bear in mind that legal duties are not discoverable facts of nature, but merely conclusory expressions that, in cases of a particular type, liability should be imposed for damage done. As stated in Dillon v. Legg (1968) 68 Cal.2d 728, 734 [69 Cal. Rptr. 72, 441 P.2d 912, 29 A.L.R.3d 1316]: “The assertion that liability must . . . be denied because defendant bears no ‘duty’ to plaintiff ‘begs the essential question — whether the plaintiff’s interests are entitled to legal protection against the defendant’s conduct. . . . [Duty] is not sacrosanct in itself, but only an expression of the sum total of those considerations of policy which lead the law to say that the
    particular plaintiff is entitled to protection.’ (Prosser, Law of Torts [3d ed. 1964] at pp. 332-333.)”

    In the landmark case of Rowland v. Christian (1968) 69 Cal.2d 108 [70 Cal. Rptr. 97, 443 P.2d 561, 32 A.L.R.3d 496], Justice Peters recognized that liability should be imposed “for injury occasioned to another by his want of ordinary care or skill” as expressed in section 1714 of the Civil Code. Thus,Justice Peters, quoting from Heaven v. Pender (1883) 11 Q.B.D. 503, 509 stated: “‘whenever one
    person is by circumstances placed in such a position with regard to another . . . that if he did not use ordinary care and skill in his own conduct . . . he would cause danger of injury to the person or property of the other, a duty arises to use ordinary care and skill to avoid such danger.'”

    TARASOFF v. REGENTS 551 P.2d 334 (1976)

  6. Mespo,

    I appreciated your legal analysis and citations, which exemplify the legalistic basis of Turley’s blawg. Sure, all of the other non-lawyering comments that complement the bulk of this site are fun and important. However, legal comments by you and other bona fide attorneys genuinely add depth and uniqueness herein.

    Thanks.

    Now, do you have a personal opinion that is not reflected in your legal opinion? That is, given Attorney Platt’s CV, legal experience, and past selfless service to low-income people, is it likely that she erred legally in this instance?

  7. FFLeo:

    Apart from the foregoing, I don’t really have a legal opinion because I don’t know enough of the specific facts pointing to knowledge of the abuse , but I do have a “human” opinion. If the facts are as Plaintiff claims and his attorney was aware of his torment and did nothing, I have no issue with damages, punitive and compensatory, and a review of his counsel’s license by the Bar. The Judeo-Christian ethic is “Suffer the little children to come unto me,…,” not “Suffer, little children.

  8. Stacey Platt’s bio has ZERO relevance in this case. If Stacey Platt was aware that the child that she was entrusted to represent was being verbally and physically abused, she should have taken reasonable measures to end the abuse. The question is: Was the plaintiff trully verbally and physically abused by his mother during the time that Stacey Platt represented him? If so, was Stacey Platt aware of the abuse? If so, did she take reasonable measures to ensure that her client (a minor child) was not being abused by his parent? These questions will be answered in the court of law.

  9. Stacey Platt may have academic credentials. She is nonetheless a piece of trash in my book. I believe this young man is speaking truthfully about his ordeal. Platt put my son through the same situation. I showed her police reports, medical records all proving abuse to both my son and I. Platt did nothing to help my son. She saw that my restraining order was watered down to nothing and every excuse was made for the abuser. She explained the cigarette burns on his back by saying my son must have backed up into the lit cigarette. She has a Polyanna way of viewing abusers unless of course she is being deliberately indifferent to the children she is supposed to be protecting. The entire Crook county system is corrupt. The judges sell these kids to the highest bidder so are we really surprised at the action of one of their appointed attorneys? I am not. I would be interested in knowing who the young man’s judge was.

  10. Stacey Platt may have academic credentials. She is nonetheless a piece of trash in my book. I believe this young man is speaking truthfully about his ordeal. Platt put my son through the same situation. I showed her police reports, medical records all proving abuse to both my son and I. Platt did nothing to help my son. She saw that my restraining order was watered down to nothing and every excuse was made for the abuser whom my son has now been forced to live with for the past four years. She explained the cigarette burns on his back by saying my son must have backed up into the lit cigarette. She has a Polyanna way of viewing abusers unless of course she is being deliberately indifferent to the children she is supposed to be protecting. The entire Crook county system is corrupt. The judges sell these kids to the highest bidder so are we really surprised at the action of one of their appointed attorneys? I am not. I would be interested in knowing who the young man’s judge was. I will be watching this one.

  11. I am the plaintiff’s father… the allegations against Stacy Platt are 100% true. She pretended the abuse didn’t take place blocked everyone of my attempts to protect my children from their abusive mother. The judge listened only to Stacy Platt’s recommendations in matters regarding the children, and if Stacy Platt had asked the judge for a restraining order prohibiting my children’s mother from physically abusing them, maybe their lives would have turned out differently. Instead, Stacy Platt pretended like the abuse wasn’t taking place and kept insisting on a “forensic evaluation”. After the forensic evaluation determined that the mother was abusive to the children, Platt continued to attack my credibility and defend my children’s abusive mother. Platt played major role in contributing to the abuse of my children. Look me up on the Internet, for more information. I’m easy to find.

  12. Cman, I am so sorry for your and your sons pain. Platt is a vulture. What you describe is exactly what happened in my case. Tell me was Barbara Palmer the forensic evaluator? Having Platt there was like having two opposing attorneys against me. So busy was she building a case against me that she missed or ignored a criminal arrest record for my ex and new spouse. I would be willing to file an affidavit that Platt has done this to my son also. I as a domestic violence victim and was put on trial for protecting my child. This has to stop. People like this have no business making life altering decisions for our families. Platt was so nice to me in private but the moment we stepped in front of the judge she put a knife in my sons back.

  13. My wife and I feel helpless. Her ex admitted to showering with his son and to tax fraud and forging tax checks. My wife and her ex both claimed that the child was not his biological son but Platt claimed that it was irrelevent. The man had lost FIVE jobs for assaulting co-workers. When medical documents and photo’s showed that the child suffered severe beatings. Platt insisted the child fell even though numerous doctors insisted the injuries were not consistent with a fall. Platt blocked their testimony. She actually helped the man cover up evidence of abuse. When she was conferring with both parents, she would take incriminating evidence which would never be seen again. She also said police reports and DCFS reports were inadmissable in court. Finally, Platt sent emails to us telling us that it was entirely my wife’s fault and she was getting what she deserved.

  14. If I may for just a moment elaborate on the forensic evaluation by Barbara Palmer. Firstly, the eval was supposed to be a substitution for a paternity test. No judgment of paternity was ever made and the ex told Palmer that he could not possibly be the father by his own timeline. That was never even questioned. Palmer made racist comments about me in her report. I am Native American. Palmer noted the color of my hair and shade of my skin! The other litigant is Polish, a white person. No mention was made of their hair or skin. I ask you, just what does my hair and skin color have to do with my ability to parent?? And why would this kangaroo court accept this clearly biased woman as an expert witness? Of course Platt admittedly had no knowledge of the ICWA and did not take the initiative to educate herself.

  15. Shafted in Chicago: I don’t want to give away too many details about what Platt did and didn’t do because I don’t want to jeoperdize my son’s case. Platt’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss and the hearing is set for later this month at the Daley Center in front of Judge Lawrence. We haven’t been able to find a lawyer to take my son’s case. It will most likely be dismissed. Platt will walk away free and clear, and my son’s life will still be ruined. Palmer was not the forensic evaluator. Without giving away too many details, I had no problem with the evaluator, Platt was the one who had the power to put a stop to the verbal and physical abuse and she allowed it to continue. Just like in your case, Platt was nothing more than another lawyer for my ex-wife. And, she was by far a more competent lawyer for my ex than her own lawyers. Platt never exercised her duties in the best interests of my children. She objected to questions about the abuse of the children… objections that were sustained. The judge sided with Platt on every issue and would berate me in court whenever I questioned Platt’s committment to advocating her duties in the best interests of my children.
    We may need witnesses if this thing gets passed the motion to dismiss and actually goes to trial. Pleae click on the link above to be redirected to another site that has a link to the actual civil complaint. Thanks for your support.

  16. Stacey Platt never listened to my daughter, never listened to first reputable counselor. Who reccomended removal!
    Instead she had her own agenda! In the end she
    Nothing to do with my case because I was lucky
    With money on my side! That’s the only reason.
    Lawyer she sided with almost disbarred from case for lying.
    They broke into my home etc… But thru balm this my daughter told me time and time again Platt would not listen to her!
    She will never firget her. Not only traumatic, but heartbreaking her voice wasn’t heard.
    My daughter is thriving strait A student away from Cook county circus of lies. We were lucky!what she did to me and my daughter
    Will never be forgottten only makes us stronger.
    It’s not a fair system. I was lucky to get out of it!

  17. I give all my thanks to Jim Pritikin Michael Sevin. I was very lucky! Stacey platt is not a true
    Advocate. Never bothered to do her homework.my sister has same position as hers in smaller town. I had her among others to reference, and she never bothered! not one call. But wrote a report about my family! She should be held accountable for such careless acts! It’s sickening. It breaks my heart for other families!

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