Mark Copy 08/22/17

Mark McNabola's Family Ties To DePaul Run Deep

Mark McNabola's family ties to DePaul University run deep. The school's Director of Athletics, Jean Lenti Ponsetto, said McNabola and his family "have been a fixture in DePaul Athletics."

"Mark’s impact on DePaul has stretched across four University Presidents and has been integral in helping bring DePaul Athletic’s championship vision to reality whether it was with the construction of McGrath-Phillips Arena or currently with Wintrust Arena," Lenti Ponsetto said.

McNabola's father, Bill "Doc," McNabola was the last surviving member of the Blue Demons' 1945 NIT championship team.

Bill, a well-known surgeon who had a long run volunteering his time as DePaul's team doctor, was married to the late Barbara "Bobbie" McNabola for 60 years. They had four boys and one girl.

"Doc was a great ambassador for DePaul," Lenti Ponsetto said. "His DePaul experiences rival Forrest Gump … playing with basketball hall of famer George Mikan and being part of the 1945 NIT National Championship team … utilizing his DePaul education to advance him in the medical field … serving as the team doctor for legendary head Coach Ray Meyer’s teams during the program’s golden era in the 1970s and 80s. Doc always shared his stories of DePaul with a special passion and twinkle in his eye.”

Bobbie's great uncle, a Vincentian priest named Rev. Edward Smith, C.M. made history four years after the Chicago Fire. Amidst  an area near the intersection of what is now the intersection of Webster and Kenmore but was back then prairie land with dirt streets, truck farms, patches of corn and a few homes, according to DePaul, Fr. Smith purchased all the property from Western to Fullerton or $5,000 to build a new parish that would later become St. Vincent de Paul church.

“The McNabola family has a significant relationship with DePaul dating back to the institution’s founding," Ponsetto Lenti said. "Mark has continued his father’s legacy as a student, distinguished alum and a consistent philanthropic leader for Blue Demon Athletics."

The legacy of the McNabola family heritage was memorialized with a significant gift by Mark McNabola in honor of his father to the Event Center at McCormick Square fundraising campaign constructing the new Wintrust Arena for the DePaul Blue Demons.

Wintrust Arena, a $173 million project, is set to open soon, with the men's basketball home opener against Notre Dame on Nov. 11 and the women's hoops tilt against Connecticut on Dec. 8. Remaining games will be announced later this summer, according to Greg Greenwell, DePaul's associate athletics director of communications.

Wintrust Arena features a 1,200-student seat section called the Demon Deck, plus locker rooms that the Chicago Tribune described as "NBA-caliber." The arena also will have a large weight room, players lounge, meeting rooms and sports medicine facilities.

The Blue Demons had played the previous 36 seasons at Allstate Arena in suburban Rosemont.

Colorful tales of Bill McNabola's playing days at DePaul were passed down to Mark and his siblings. They can recall the pranks the Blue Demons used to pull off that included hiding the glasses on the team bus of their legendary 6-foot, 10-inch teammate George Mikan.

"When they were in New York, they got a call that somebody famous wanted to meet Mikan," Mark McNabola, a 1981 DePaul graduate in communication with a DePaul law degree in 1985, told DePaul's athletics department in 2016. "Turned out it was Babe Ruth, and he wanted to play cards with George. The year they won the NIT, the old-time marquee outside Madison Square Garden billed the title game as `George Mikan vs. St. John's.'

"My dad was a 17-year-old freshman at the time and a little naïve. He would laugh and tell us how he walked through the hotel lobby in New York City one day and ran into these old guys wearing fedoras. They asked him how George was doing. At first, my dad thought: `What a nice, thoughtful bunch of guys worried about George's health.' Later, he figured out they were gamblers looking for inside information."

Bill McNabola would always tell his kids how fortunate he was to have attended DePaul with the strong priests and nuns that molded him and instilled a hearty work ethic. Born to a family of Irish immigrants, Bill McNabola was entirely comfortable going to  classes alongside the offspring of immigrants.

After graduating from DePaul, Bill McNabola served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and went to medical school after the war to become a general surgeon. From the mid-1960s to the mid-90s, he donated his time and served as the Blue Demon team physician as a way of giving back to the university.

"My dad became close friends with Ray and Marge Meyer and their family and with Father John Cortelyou," Mark said in 2016. "He would often go out to dinner with Coach Ray. I remember going to my first DePaul game when I was seven years old.

"I remember my dad as a surgeon without an ego. He was an honorable guy who was well-liked by everybody. He would often go out into the community and make house calls to the less fortunate. He was part of what's known as the Greatest Generation.

"My dad's parents were immigrants, and the way he was raised, money wasn't the goal -- it was service to others. It was part of DePaul athletics that you learned to treat everyone the same. Being an outstanding student who would become a surgeon afforded him the opportunity to help people.

"He was a humble doctor who never had a big ego. He would treat people the same and had good friends who were janitors and good friends who were presidents of hospitals and CEOs. The hospitals he worked in were run by nuns. Doctors, and especially surgeons, were put on pedestals, but my dad was never like that."

Bill McNabola played sports at De La Salle High School, and one of his teammates was a linebacker named George Connor who would go onto fame with Notre Dame and the Bears. Connor was honored with the inaugural Outland Trophy as college football's top lineman in 1946.

"I remember going to games with my sister and brothers on Saturday nights," Mark said. "Afterwards, we would go to White Castle and eat sliders on the drive back home to Wilmette.

"Back then in the 70s, there no video games or other forms of entertainment. For us, DePaul was the only game in town."

Driving the Edens Expressway took on a more somber meaning during Mark McNabola's career as one of the city's leading personal injury lawyers and trial attorneys.

"During the Bulls' title run of the early 1990s, there were some high school kids driving on the Edens," Mark said. "A truck coming the other way lost a wheel that ran into the teenagers' vehicle and caused a violent crash. Two 17-year-old boys died in that accident.

"I was the lead attorney on that case, and it was as if time stood still. The loss of those two boys' lives was horrific, and there was all the collateral damage to loved ones. It had such a profound effect on so many people who loved them.

"It made you realize how blessed you are as those unfortunate people are confronted with unanswerable questions. I try to help people who have been completely devastated."

Mark played his high school ball at Loyola Academy and was part of the 1976 team that finished third in the state. It was coached by Bill Gleason and starred Mark Feiereisel whose dad Ron was an All-American and Blue Demon women's basketball coach. That team had a magical playoff run featuring upsets of powerhouses like St. Laurence with Kevin Boyle and Jim Stack and East Leyden with Glen Grunwald.

Although many of his teammates went on to play in college, the Rambler guard realized pretty quickly that he wasn't going to suit up for the Blue Demons.

"I knew that the first time I saw the backcourt of Clyde Bradshaw and Gary Garland," Mark said. "They were so fast and talented -- I had never seen anything like that before.

"DePaul had a much smaller campus back then, and we all hung out together in Lincoln Park. Everyone had a job while we were in school. You could handle the academics so long as you put the effort into it. My favorite teacher was English Literature professor Hugh Ingrasci."

Now Wintrust Arena will be a part of DePaul's extended campus.

"Everyone is so excited about the new stadium," Mark said. "It's coming up so quickly and is going to be such a huge benefit for our basketball program and the university."

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$27

million

Product Liability - A married father of three was paralyzed in a boating injury when he fell from the upper deck of a yacht. The offer by the insurance company for the defendant was $3 million before trial and $25 million after 3 weeks of jury trial.

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$20

million

Construction Site Negligence - A man was demonstrating construction equipment known as a “man lift” and was elevated in the air. The lift collapsed and two men suffered permanent injuries. McNabola Law Group represented one of two men injured totaling $20 million. Prior to jury trial the offer was $3 million

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$14

million

Medical Malpractice - A young mother died during child birth when doctors failed to monitor her properly. Her newborn baby also suffered irreversible brain damage during the delivery at a Chicagoland hospital. 

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$12

million

Medical Malpractice - A 52 year old man suffered an anoxic brain injury following routine bowel surgery when doctors and nurses at a suburban hospital failed to properly monitor and treat him post-operatively. The offer before jury trial was $3 million. Case settled after it was set for jury selection.

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$10

million

Trucking Negligence - A young girl was killed when she was struck by a vehicle that had previously collided with a bus that was traveling too fast for conditions. After a ten-day jury trial, a Cook County jury returned a verdict in favor of the family. According to the Jury Verdict Reporter, this is a record high verdict for the wrongful death of a minor in a motor vehicle accident. There was no offer for settlement by the defendant.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$10

million

Trucking Negligence - A Cook County jury entered the verdict in favor of a 72-year-old grandmother rendered wheelchair-dependent after a car vs truck accident. The offer prior to trial was $3 million

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$9.8

million

Automobile Negligence - A 72 year old woman was paralyzed following an automobile accident. The defendant turned into the plaintiff’s vehicle causing her to sustain a spinal fracture and dislocation at C6-C7 requiring a fusion. She is wheelchair dependent. The offer for settlement before jury trial was $4 million

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$9.2

million

Medical Malpractice - A young woman suffered amputation of her legs as a result of complications following surgery at a suburban hospital. Doctors and nurses failed to develop and implement an appropriate plan to manage blood thinning medications pre and post-operatively leading to severe clotting and tissue death. The case settled during jury selection. The offer was $3 million before trial.    

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$7.8

million

Medical Negligence - A woman presented herself to the emergency room on three consecutive days with worsening symptoms. Finally, she was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis but suffered severe injuries due to the delay of diagnosis and treatment. The initial settlement offer was $3 million.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$6.9

million

Construction Negligence - A man lost his leg while working at a City of Chicago construction site. The man was working near his truck at the construction site when a driver struck him and pinned him against his truck. City workers failed to properly mark their construction site, failed to safely route traffic around the area, and failed to use flaggers to warn traffic to slow down and direct it to move one direction at a time. The offer prior to jury trial was zero. A Cook County jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$6.8

million

Medical Negligence - A 48 year old woman suffered severe brain damage at a Chicagoland hospital after surgery to alleviate sleep apnea. Her breathing tube clogged because of inadequate monitoring by the nursing staff. 

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$6.8

million

Construction Negligence - A 30 year old man suffered severe injuries from a 30-foot fall at a construction site and received blood thinning medication at the defendant hospital that was intended for another patient. The offer before trial was zero.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$6

million

Motorcycle Negligence - A teenager and her father were injured in a motorcycle crash. The 15 year old suffered severe fracture to her right ankle which required multiple surgeries. Her father sustained numerous injuries including a fractured wrist and ankle.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$5.8

million

Automobile Negligence - A wheel assembly dislodged from the axel of a semi-trailer killing two seventeen year old boys.  McNabola Law Group represented the family members of one of the two boys. The extent of liability insurance coverage for both families was six million dollars.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$5.5

million

Automobile Negligence - A 29 year old woman suffered a fractured cervical spine and subsequently died after the car she was riding in crashed into a construction pit. The jury held the contractor liable for failing to place concrete barriers at the construction site. The offer prior to jury trial was $1 million.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$5

million

Product Liability - A man working in Will County was unexpectedly sprayed in the face with anhydrous ammonia when a house coupler failed to close properly. The incident caused severe eye injuries. During the investigation, the coupler was thrown away. The primary cause of this action was based on spoliation of evidence against the insurance adjuster. According to the Jury Verdict Reporter, this is a record high result for this type of injury. The offer prior to trial was zero.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$5

million

Construction Negligence - A 27 year old man’s legs were crushed causing below the knee amputations when a wall fell onto his legs after an employee cut a steel beam while demolishing a Union Pacific railroad bridge. $5 million was the extent of the insurance policy limit. This case concluded after it was set for jury trial. 

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$4.9

million

Medical Malpractice - A young girl who suffered from cardiac arrhythmias due to a cardiac abnormality had a cardiac procedure. Four weeks after the procedure, she was cleared to resume sports and other activities, she collapsed in gym class and later died. The case settled prior to jury trial.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$4.7

million

Construction Negligence - A man was working on a ladder, painting a Chicago building, when his ladder came in contact with electrical wires. He suffered severe electric shock, broken ankles and ribs, and a fractured back. An Illinois utility company, ComEd, was called four times before the incident to shut off the lines but they never shut off the lines. The victim has undergone multiple surgeries and has not been able to return to his career since the incident.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$4

million

Medical Negligence - A young woman died at a Chicago hospital when doctors failed to timely diagnose symptoms of a pulmonary embolism. She had a cardiac procedure performed so that she could stop taking anti-arrhythmia medications. She was discharged from the hospital only to die two days later.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$3.6

million

Medical Negligence - A 12 year old girl was deprived of oxygen for 15 minutes during a routine surgical procedure. Plaintiffs alleged the surgical residents mismanaged the young girl’s airway and negligently allowed her condition to deteriorate before attempting intubation at the bedside. Following a two week trial the jury awarded $3.6 million. The offer before jury trial was zero.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$3

million

Automobile Negligence - A man’s automobile was struck by a taxicab and he suffered permanent weakness in his legs and a laceration of an artery in his chest. The extent of insurance company policy limit was $3 million

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$3

million

Medical Negligence - A 60 year old man who suffered from uncontrolled diabetes and vascular disease was admitted to a Chicago hospital with an infected ankle wound. Doctors postponed the procedure and failed to timely readmit the plaintiff to undergo a procedure to reestablish blood supply to his leg. Plaintiff leg was amputated below the knee a month later.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$2.9

million

Medical Negligence - A DuPage County record jury verdict for the family of a 5 day old baby who died when physicians failed to timely diagnose an obstructed bowel. The jury concluded physicians also delayed administering IV fluids, antibiotics and transfer to an institution with a pediatric surgeon available. The offer prior to trial was zero.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$2.7

million

Automobile Negligence - A 41 year old father and husband was killed instantly when the defendant ran a red light and hit his vehicle.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$2.5

million

Medical Negligence - A 58 year old woman died after a radiologist from a Chicago hospital misread the patient CT scan and failed to identify her bowel obstruction. 10 days later another CT scan was done and the obstruction was located and emergency surgery performed. She suffered complications which resulted in her death.

Trial Attorneys Mark McNabola, Ruth Degnan

$2.5

million

Trucking Negligence - A 31 year old man was hit by a flatbed truck after he stopped and exited his car to gather a loose dog from the roadway. He suffered degloving of his left leg above and below the knee, vascular and nerve injuries. Plaintiff has been unable to return to work.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$2.3

million

Trucking Negligence - A woman was killed while driving on I-88 when an upraised backhoe on a flatbed trailer hit the underpass and fell on top of her car.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$2.2

million

Medical Negligence - A 42 year old high school teacher died of severe coronary atherosclerosis after a Chicago hospital failed to recognize or timely provide treatment for high cholesterol and hypertension.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$2

million

Trucking Negligence - A woman driving on I-80 was cut off by a truck driver, forcing her off the roadway. Her car flipped, causing de-gloving of her right arm and serious injuries.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.8

million

Construction Negligence - A 39 year old man sustained bilateral hip fractures, shoulder dislocation, and a torn rotator cuff during a fall from inadequate scaffolding at a construction site.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.8

million

Negligence - A railroad worker was injured when he was working underneath a train car. The train car moved resulting in injuries to his shoulder, knees, hip and neck. The accident was caused by miscommunication between employees and the company that managed railcar movements in the yard.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.8

million

Product Liability - A settlement against a furniture company in the case of a 3 year old who died when a poorly-constructed dining room chair toppled over. The front legs of the chair were one half inch longer than the back legs. The child suffered a seizure, became unconscious and died the next day at a Suburban hospital.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.8

million

Trucking Negligence - An 81 year-old woman was struck by semi-tractor trailer resulting in multiple fractures to her right femur, left tibia, left ankle and right hip. The defense had two witnesses who claimed the plaintiff walked into the back of the trailer while crossing mid-block outside the crosswalk. The case settled during jury trial. The offer before trial was zero.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.7

million

Automobile Negligence - A young man was driving on a highway when his vehicle was struck from behind by a sports utility vehicle. Plaintiff suffered injuries to his back which required surgery.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.6

million

Record High Jury Verdict - A college student suffered burns on her face, arms and chest in an incident at a campus bar at the University of Iowa. A bartender poured grain alcohol into the bar well and lit it on fire. The flames went out of control and into the crowd.  After a six-day jury trial, in Iowa City the jury returned a verdict in favor of the victim. According to the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the award is one of the largest in Johnson County history. The offer prior to jury trial was $200,000.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.5

million

Construction Negligence - A 37 year old mason was working on a construction site when a forklift struck a crossbar of the structural steel frame, dislodged unsecured concrete planks, and fell killing him instantly.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.3

million

Automobile Negligence - Three plaintiffs were in an automobile that struck and hit a construction barrel on I-94. The passengers took off their seat belts and one of the passengers exited the car. The defendant then struck the vehicle and the vehicle hit the passenger who exited the vehicle throwing her onto the CTA tracks. She suffered a brain bleed, fractures to her ribs, pelvis, tailbone, jaw and ankle. The plaintiffs that were in the car was ejected and died. There was a limited amount of insurance coverage.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.1

million

Medical Negligence - An 8 day old baby died on the operating table when the anesthesiologist improperly managed the baby’s anesthesia during the surgery. The anthologist failed to advise surgeons of the baby’s low blood pressure and abnormal blood gas readings.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.1

million

Medical Malpractice - A woman suffered a stillbirth despite having carried her baby to term through a healthy pregnancy as a result of the failure of the nurses and physicians to properly monitor and to timely reverse signs and symptoms of significant fetal distress.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1.1

million

Construction Negligence - Plaintiff fell from a temporary staircase in his new home suffering a hip injury. Investigation of the staircase concluded it was not properly re-installed and secured after hardwood flooring was installed.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola

$1

million

Record High Settlement - After seven days of jury trial, the parties agreed to settle a work injury case involving a reflex sympathetic dystrophy injury to a 37 year old man. The plaintiff slipped on an unnatural accumulation of ice and water at the Bismark loading dock at Navy Pier, fracturing his right leg. The injury resulted caused RSD. According to the Jury Verdict Reporter, this is the highest result on record for this type of injury. The offer before jury trial was zero.

Lead Trial Attorney Mark McNabola