A settlement has been reached in the lawsuit filed in connection with the 2017 death of Kenneka Jenkins, the 19-year-old Chicago woman who died of hypothermia inside a Rosemont hotel’s walk-in freezer. The settlement was reached in August, although the terms of the agreement have not been made public as attorneys for Jenkins’ mother have requested that they be sealed. However, the request to seal the settlement has been denied by Circuit Judge Thomas Cushing, who has asked for a resubmission. According to court records, a status hearing is scheduled for next week, with a trial set for October 16.
Jenkins died of hypothermia inside a walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, and her death was ruled an accident by the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Alcohol intoxication and the use of a drug for treating epilepsy and migraines were cited as significant contributing factors. Jenkins was found inside the freezer on September 10, 2017, nearly 24 hours after she disappeared from a room at the Crowne Plaza. The release of surveillance videos showing Jenkins wandering near the freezer did not quell speculation surrounding her death, leading to protests outside the hotel.
Jenkins’ mother initially filed a lawsuit in late 2017 but later dismissed it after changing lawyers. Her current lawyers filed a negligence lawsuit in 2018 against the Crowne Plaza Hotel’s parent company, the hotel’s security company, and a restaurant that had rented the freezer where Jenkins was found. The lawsuit initially sought more than $50 million in damages.