Articles Posted in Work Injury

Frank Barnai was injured while he was working for Summit Fire Protection Co. on a construction project. He sued the general contractor, International Contractors Inc. (ICI), the owner, Wal-Mart and electrical subcontractor, Nuline Technologies.  These defendants then brought a third-party action against Summit Fire Protection Co. for contribution.

Summit did not contribute when ICI, Wal-Mart and Nuline settled with Barnai for $5 million. As part of that settlement, the defendants assigned to Barnai their contribution claims against Summit.

Over Summit’s objection, the presiding Cook County judge granted Barnai’s motion for a good-faith finding even though the judge was not informed about how the settlement agreement allocated the $5 million payment between the defendants.

Continue reading

Steven Meier, a security guard, was walking through the warehouse at PennySaver USA when Oliver Cervantes backed into Meier with his forklift truck. The forklift dragged Meier about 15 feet, trapping and crushing his right leg and ankle. According to the report of the case, employees of PennySaver had to bring in a second forklift truck to dislodge Meier’s leg.

Meier was 59 years old at the time and sustained serious crushing injuries to his right leg and ankle and a degloving injury to his lower leg. He underwent multiple surgeries as well as medical procedures to stabilize the fractures, repair nerves and tendons and to fight off infection of that injured leg. About a year and a half after this incident, Meier suffered a severe infection requiring amputation of his right leg below the knee.

He has since undergone three revision surgeries to the stump on that right leg before being fitted with a temporary prosthesis.  Meier likely will require at least one additional revision surgery.

Continue reading

Julio Martinez-Carassco was working for Ronell Managed Services LLC, a company that cleans and services industrial equipment.  The Ronell company sent Martinez-Carassco to work at the Premio Foods Inc. processing plant. The plant’s equipment included an industrial blending and mixing machine manufactured by Apache Stainless Group.

As the mixer’s large metal paddles were turning, Martinez-Carassco began washing the machine’s opened discharge doors with a hose. The moving panels contacted Martinez-Carassco’s hose pulling his left arm into the mixer and severing the arm below the elbow.

Emergency room physicians attempted, but were unable to reattach the arm. Unfortunately, the arm was surgically amputated at the elbow. Although he was fitted for prosthesis, he rarely wears it. Martinez-Carassco’s medical expenses totaled approximately $300,000.

Continue reading

A lineman working for an electrical contractor identified in this confidential settlement and lawsuit as Mr. Doe was hired to install a new electrical switch and cross arm at the top of a wooden utility pole. Mr. Doe climbed the pole and then strapped his work-positioning belt around himself and the pole. While Mr. Doe was adjusting his position, the belt came up over the top of the pole causing him to disconnect from it. Mr. Doe fell 60 feet to the ground and suffered catastrophic injuries.

Doe, 28, sustained a severe traumatic brain injury affecting his brain stem, spinal fractures resulting in incomplete quadriplegia and other orthopedic injuries.

Mr. Doe now has memory loss and other cognitive problems, including speech and vision deficits, lost sense of smell, severe headaches, spasticity in all four limbs and neurogenic bladder and bowel issues.

Continue reading

Joanne Turner, an electrician, was working on a roof of a community college building that was under construction. As she climbed a 20-foot roof access ladder, she slipped and fell about 15 feet to the concrete floor below.

Turner was 53 years old at the time. As a result of this fall, she suffered an L-2 burst fracture, a fractured right femur and foot and bilateral knee injuries.

Turner underwent open reduction internal fixation of the femur fracture. She also required the implantation of a retrograde nail in her right knee. She was hospitalized for about a week. She spent twelve days in an inpatient rehabilitation facility and remained off her leg for about two-and-a-half months. She was also required to wear a back brace for an additional three months.

Continue reading

Jeffrey Gerasi appealed an order granting summary judgment to the defendant, Gilbane Building Company Inc. The issue on appeal was whether there was a  material fact existing as to whether Gilbane retained control over the work of its subcontractor, Geary Electric. Gilbane could have been directly liable under section 414 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts for its negligence in exercising its retained control. Originally Gerasi’s lawsuit pursued a theory of liability against Gilbane under the theory of vicarious liability. He later abandoned that argument.

Gibane was hired by AT&T Services Inc. to act as general contractor for the replacement of two air conditioning systems to cool AT&T’s Wabash telecommunications building at 520 South Federal St. in Chicago. Johnson Controls inspects, maintains and performs or arranges for repairs to the Wabash building. Gilbane hired Geary Electric to do the electrical work on this project.

Gilbane had a written contract with both AT&T and Geary. Gilbane was to conduct weekly safety meetings. The AT&T/Gilbane contract required Gilbane to place “the highest importance and priority on health and safety for the [w]ork performed” and provided that Gilbane was “responsible for the safety and protection of the [w]ork, workers of [c]ontractors and [s]ubcontractors, and any other persons or public or private property as required by law.”

Continue reading

Edgar Gonzalez was a construction worker employed by a commercial contractor.  While working at a project commissioned by the city of Los Angeles, he was  erecting a wall-forming system used to support poured concrete. Gonzalez, 30, climbed to the top of a 30-foot form panel; the panel gave way.  He fell to the ground where he suffered fatal injuries. Gonzalez was survived by his wife and two minor children.

The Gonzalez family sued Atlas Construction Supply Inc., the designer of the wall- forming system and the supplier of its component parts.  The lawsuit claimed that the system had been defective. The defendant Atlas Construction denied responsibility and maintained that Gonzalez’s injuries and death resulted from the negligence of the general contractor, the city of Los Angeles, and the crane operator who placed the wall form panel in that location.

The jury entered a verdict for $27 million apportioning liability at 55% to Atlas and 45% to the general contractor.

Continue reading

A jury found that the mesothelioma contracted by James Lester Phillips was caused in part by exposure to asbestos contained in Bendix brakes. In an appeal, Honeywell challenged the $5.8 million awarded to Phillips’s wife and surviving children.

In the published portion of the appellate opinion, the court rejected Honeywell’s claims of evidentiary error, concluding that the trial court properly admitted a 1966 letter of a Bendix employee sarcastically addressing an article in Chemical Week magazine that stated asbestos had been accused, but not yet convicted, of being a significant health hazard.

The court reasoned that the letter was circumstantial evidence relevant to the issue of Bendix’s awareness of asbestos’s potential to cause cancer. The court noted that Illinois and Florida cases holding admission of this letter was prejudicial were distinguishable because they did not include the important limiting instruction to the jury.

Continue reading

Cameron Hansen, 48, was a cement mason working at a construction site at Loretto Hospital at 645 Central Ave. in Chicago. The defendant in this case was Stone Mountain Access Systems Inc., which was the company that provided the scaffolding at the job site. Stone Mountain was responsible for designing and consulting for the building of this scaffold for this job.

Hansen was attempting to disassemble the scaffolding on Nov. 11, 2010 when it tipped over and he fell to the ground. Hansen sustained a traumatic brain injury along with unspecified injuries to his neck, left shoulder, left hip and left knee. He required five surgeries and physical therapy. The injuries left him with permanent disability.

He blamed Stone Mountain for the placement of counter-weights for the scaffold falling over and this accident. Stone Mountain maintained that there was nothing wrong with the equipment or the way the scaffold was built and argued that Hansen’s dismantling of the scaffold was the sole cause of the scaffold’s fall.

Continue reading

Ignacio Maravilla was working as a laborer during a River North construction project at Wabash Avenue and Superior Street for Holy Name Cathedral on March 27, 2012. He was employed by Benchmark Construction Co.

As a 72-inch precast concrete flat-top slab was being hoisted, one of its imbedded steel lifting loops failed and broke off the slab, which struck Maravilla in the head and face.

The concrete slab with the imbedded loop inserts was designed and manufactured by the defendant Welch Brothers Inc. This lawsuit was for the injuries suffered by Maravilla because of the product defect of the concrete slab hoisting device.

Continue reading