Simmons Hanly Conroy Secures Settlement for Family of Disabled Man Killed by Hospital Security Guards

Attorney Michael Stewart Secures Confidential Settlement Against Gateway Regional Medical Center, Guards

ALTON – A confidential settlement was reached just before trial in a wrongful death lawsuit concerning the death of 42-year-old Anthony “Todd” Burkey, of Granite City, Ill. Burkey died Dec. 2, 2011, while being restrained by three security guards in the emergency room at Gateway Regional Medical Center in Granite City. The lawsuit alleged the attack was motivated in part by the guards’ prejudice against Burkey as an individual with a mental disability.

Simmons Hanly Conroy Attorney Michael Stewart represented the family, including wife Crystal Burkey and his teenage son, against the hospital and the three security guards: Charles Knapp, Dylan Ritchie and Shane Biggs. Knapp and Ritchie were also indicted by a grand jury for involuntary manslaughter.

“The settlement is a fair result,” Stewart said. “However, no amount of money can ever compensate for the loss of a father or husband, but the family is thankful that those responsible have been held accountable.”

Todd, who was physically disabled from a previous work injury, was admitted Dec. 2, 2011, to the hospital for undiagnosed medical and mental health disorders after causing a disturbance in his neighborhood.

Hospital staff requested security guards to transfer Burkey to an inpatient room. However, the complaint alleged the guards threw Burkey to the floor without justification or provocation, then pinned him down by lying on top of him which led to his suffocation. Instead of checking his condition, hospital surveillance tape showed the guards laughing and talking in the room for several minutes before they realized Burkey had died.

The complaint also alleged the guards failed to report Burkey’s condition to their supervisors in a timely manner so medical treatment could be provided.

Burkey was a member of the Labor Local No. 338. He enjoyed playing the guitar, working on cars and loved dogs, according to his obituary.

The case was Burkey vs. Knapp, No. 12-L-000652 (Madison County, IL).