In 2017, Trinidad Javier Bueno Sanchez of North Chicago hoped to buy one of his daughters a dress for her school prom. With a large family to care for, money was tight. But, he had an idea. He placed an ad on "Offer Up," a social media app where users can buy and sell items, to sell his Apple iPhone for $450.
Someone responded to the ad and arranged to meet Bueno Sanchez at the local Meijer grocery store to make the exchange. Neither Bueno Sanchez nor his family could have predicted what happened next.
A split-second decision with dire consequences
As it turns out, the person who responded to Bueno Sanchez's ad was, in fact, teenagers using a fake name. They had no intention of paying the asking price. Instead, they handed Bueno Sanchez a sealed envelope containing a Walmart receipt and three dollars in cash.
Bueno Sanchez was still holding on to the passenger side window of the teenagers' car when he opened the envelope to ensure the teens paid the full $450. The teen driving the vehicle drove off at such a high speed that Bueno Sanchez was thrown from the car, striking his head on the pavement. He died from his injuries.
A bittersweet victory
On May 14, 2019, the Lake County law firm of Soffietti, Johnson, Teegen, Argueta & Bawcum, Ltd. obtained a $799,000.00 settlement in a wrongful death suit on behalf of Bueno Sanchez's family. Defendants in the case included the teens involved in the incident as well as their parents, named as defendants under the Illinois Parental Responsibility Act.
Attorney David J. Bawcum, who represented the family, said:
"Because of a cell phone, this family lost a husband, a father and a grandfather. While obviously no amount of money can change this incredibly senseless tragedy, based on the limited amount of insurance available to these defendants, the family is pleased with this outcome."
Over 50 years standing up for victims' rights
Soffietti, Johnson, Teegan, Argueta & Bawcum, Ltd. provides Illinois residents with guidance in a wide variety of legal areas, including personal injury. In practice for over 50 years, our firm brings experience, knowledge and skill to every case, achieving just outcomes in even the toughest cases.