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Family files wrongful death lawsuit against Illinois paramedics who are charged with murder


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

Paramedics Peter Cadigan and Peggy Finley were previously charged with first-degree murder in the death of Earl Moore Jr., who died after authorities say he was strapped facedown on a gurney in December. 

“They didn’t do any of what we all know is not only the right thing to do, but the thing that’s necessary to save a person,” said attorney Bob Hilliard, who represents the Moore family. “I mean, it was Earl that night, but who’s to say who it is the next night?” 

According to Springfield Police Department records, officers responded to a call after they were told that Moore was under distress after withdrawing from alcohol and was suffering from hallucinations. 

Body cam footage showed Finley, a paramedic with Lifestar Ambulance Service, entering the room and yelling at Moore to sit up. 

“Earl, sit up,” she is heard saying.  

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

“Sit up. Sit up. Now,” she said.

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

In the video, Moore is seen trying to stand before officers help him outside.  

Once outside, Cadigan appears to place Moore down on his stomach, then he and Finley secure the safety straps.

This is one part of the video that has left Moore’s family traumatized, they said. 

“I keep seeing him slam him like that. That’s what I keep seeing until Earl’s whole body shake,” said Moore’s mother, Rosena Washington.

Moore died an hour later at the hospital. An autopsy test said the cause was “asphyxia due to prone facedown restraint.”  

Moore’s family wants justice and accountability for his death and said he was a hardworking man who struggled with alcohol addiction but was trying to get better. 

“My heart hurt because I ain’t gonna never see my son no more, all because of those two people,” said Washington.

Both Cadigan and Finley were expected to be in court on Thursday. 

Cadigan’s attorney said this was a tort, not a criminal case, and that his client is “devastated.” He also called the case “highly unusual.” CBS News has reached out to Cadigan’s attorney for comment on the wrongful death lawsuit. 

Finley’s lawyer, W. Scott Hanken, told CBS News the murder charges are an “overreaching stretch,” saying prosecutors are turning what at most might be negligence into a murder. As for the wrongful death lawsuit, Hanken — who is representing Finley in the criminal case but will not represent her in the wrongful death case — said, “It alleges negligence and if that’s the case, negligence is not criminal.”

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

CBS News reached out to Lifestar after the wrongful death lawsuit was filed. A dispatcher who answered the phone said the company had no comment. He was not aware of the new lawsuit. CBS News also reached out to Lifestar president and CEO Roger Campbell directly for comment on the lawsuit.



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