Mother of Waukegan Mayor Will Dismiss Lawsuit Against Library and City for Fall on Sidewalk

On Monday, Lake County Board Vice Chairwoman Mary Ross Cunningham announced that she would drop a lawsuit that she filed against the city of Waukegan and the Waukegan Public Library. Cunningham, who is the mother of the mayor of Waukegan, had filed a lawsuit seeking $50,000 damages for a fall that took place outside the library in February of last year.

According to Mayor Sam Cunningham, an attorney representing the Waukegan Public Library is handling the case rather than the city’s regular attorney. He noted that officials would develop a strategy to deal with the potential conflict of interest should the city become involved.

The mayor said that he had known about the fall, but that he did not know that his mother was planning to sue. Mary Ross Cunningham said that she didn’t inform her son about the lawsuit because she believed the library was an entity separate from the city. However, even though the Waukegan Public Library possesses its own governing board, it is still part of Waukegan. The Waukegan possesses authority over how the public library is governed and it approves a property tax on its behalf.

According to Mary Ross Cunningham, the fall occurred when she was leaving a meeting at the library. She tripped on a section of broken sidewalk and fell, losing consciousness. Eventually, her niece took her to Vista Medical Center.

Eventually, Cunningham was discharged from the hospital. However, when she returned home, she couldn’t move. Ultimately, she had to spend an additional week at the Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. According to Cunningham, the fall caused her to suffer a re-injury of a disk in her back.

Retired Circuit Judge Jane Waller, another official of Lake County, received an award of $110,500 for an injury she suffered after she tripped on a sidewalk covered in snow in Waukegan.

The library’s attorney has not responded to requests for additional information. The attorney of Cunninghan declined to comment on the lawsuit because he doesn’t have the permissions to do so.