Allendale reaches $3.75 million settlement over teen's death

  • Shaquan Allen

    Shaquan Allen

Updated 4/11/2017 5:25 PM

The family of a Chicago teen killed last year in a struggle with workers at a Lake Villa group home has reached a $3.75 million settlement to their lawsuit against the facility and several employees.

The agreement, approved late last month by a Cook County judge, ends litigation brought after the March 30, 2016, death of Shaquan Allen, 16, from injuries suffered at the Allendale Association facility.


Allen family attorney John B. Lower declined to comment on the resolution except to say "the dispute has been amicably resolved."

Calls to Allendale President/CEO Mary Shahbazian and other officials were not returned Tuesday.

According to court documents, the settlement was reached with the assistance of a retired Cook County judge serving as a mediator.

Shaquan's mother sued Allendale and several employees last year, alleging they were to blame for her son's death.

The teen died after he struggled with two Allendale workers -- James Davis of Round Lake and Justin Serak of Grafton, Wisconsin -- who were taking him to a cottage at the Lake Villa facility for children with emotional and behavioral disabilities.

Authorities say Serak held Shaquan's feet while Davis placed him in a chokehold. After falling unconscious, Shaquan was taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where he was pronounced dead.

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Among the suit's allegations were Davis and Serak were not certified to manually restrain an Allendale resident, there was an "unsafe manpower shortage" at the time of the confrontation, no one started CPR despite Shaquan being "unresponsive and/or unconscious with irregular breathing and/or no breathing," and the staff waited 15 minutes before calling 911 for help.

Davis, 38, faces involuntary manslaughter and obstruction of justice charges stemming from Shaquan's death.

Lake County prosecutors Tuesday dismissed an obstructing justice charge against Serak, 28, in exchange for his promise to testify against Davis.

• Daily Herald staff writer Lee Filas contributed to this story

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