Family files wrongful death lawsuit against Illinois paramedic charged with murder

The family of a man who died after calling 911 in Springfield, Illinois, filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday against two paramedics and Lifestar, a company that provides ambulance services.

Paramedics Peter Cuddygan and Peggy Finley were previously charged with first-degree murder. Earl Moore Jr.died in December after authorities said he was strapped face down to a stretcher.

Attorney Bob Hilliard, who represents the Moores, said: “They weren’t doing anything they knew was not only the right thing to do, but what everyone knew was necessary to save people. “So you were the Earl that night, but who can you say the next night?”

A police officer answered the phone after Moore was said to be suffering from hallucinations after quitting alcohol, according to Springfield Police Department records.

Body cam footage showed Finley, a Lifestar Ambulance Service paramedic, walking into the room and yelling at Moore to sit down.

“Earl, wake up,” she hears.

When Moore doesn’t respond, she is seen on camera dragging him to the floor.

“Get up. Get up. Come on,” she said.

“She didn’t even know Earl. But she acted like she knew he was calling his name and dragging him around like that,” said Chatara Moore said.

In the video, Moore is seen trying to get to his feet before officers help him outside.

Once outside, the caddy appears to have Moore on its stomach and secures safety straps with Finley.

It was part of the video that left the Moore family traumatized, they said.

“I keep watching him slam him like that, which is what I keep watching until Earl’s whole body trembles,” said Moore’s mother, Rosena Washington.

Moore died in hospital an hour later. As a result of the judicial autopsy, the cause was found to be “suffocation due to prone restraint”.

Moore’s family wanted justice and accountability for his death, and he was a hard-working man who struggled with alcoholism but was trying to get better.

“It hurts me that I won’t see my son anymore. It’s all about those two,” Washington said.

Caddigan and Finley were scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.

Cadigan’s attorney said it was a tort rather than a criminal case and that his client was “devastated”. He also called the case “extremely unusual”. CBS News has reached out to Caddigan’s attorney for comment on the wrongful death lawsuit.

Finley’s attorney, W. Scott Hanken, told CBS News that the murder charges were “going too far” and that prosecutors were turning what might at best be negligence into murder. As for the wrongful death lawsuit, Hanken, who has represented Finley in a criminal case but does not intend to represent her in a wrongful death case, said, “We are alleging negligence, and if so, negligence. It’s not a crime,” he said.

If convicted, Finley and Caddigan could face 20 to 60 years in prison.

CBS News reached out to Lifestar after a wrongful death lawsuit was filed. A dispatcher who answered the call said the company had no comment. He didn’t know about the new lawsuit. CBS News has also reached out directly to Lifestar President and CEO Roger Campbell for comment on the lawsuit. Family files wrongful death lawsuit against Illinois paramedic charged with murder

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