Illinois Appellate Court Rules That Employer Must Defend Wrongful Death Lawsuit | Law Firm Newswire

Illinois Appellate Court Rules That Employer Must Defend Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) December 30, 2014 – An Illinois Appellate Court recently reinstated a wrongful death lawsuit claiming that an employer should have known that an employee was behind death threats sent by email to his family from a work computer.

According to the judge, the employer should have done more to protect the family from the husband's threatened harm, which caused their deaths.

The lawsuit was filed by Regions Bank, the administrator of Sheri Coleman's estate, against Joyce Meyer Ministries, which employed Christopher Coleman. In 2009, Coleman was convicted of killing his wife and children in their home in Columbia, Illinois after emailing death threats to himself, his wife and their two sons from a work computer.

“Because the Appellate Court reversed the trial court's dismissal of the case, the parties must now litigate the merits of the claim,” said Paul Greenberg, a Chicago wrongful death attorney with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg who is not involved in the case.

According to the lawsuit, Joyce Meyer Ministries knew that Coleman was emailing death threats to his family using a work computer. The company had an electronic communications policy in place that permitted the employer to monitor employees' email and prohibited employees from sending harassing or abusive email. The lawsuit alleges that the employer failed to protect the family by failing to enforce its policy and discipline Coleman.

The Appellate Court made no judgment on the merits of the case, but it held that Regions had pled facts in its complaint, that, if true, established that the employer knew that Coleman had made death threats to his family.

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