Cook County Industrial Plant Accident Leads to Worker’s Death – 1 Million Settlement Reached in Jensen v. Earle M. Jorgensen Co.

Certain jobs carry a degree of risk. For example, while an office worker would not typically be in danger of falling from a scaffold, this is a reality for many construction workers. As a result, these higher risk jobs often have various safety standards and procedures in place to try and minimize the risk for workers. Yet these safety rules are not always followed, which opens manufacturers and construction companies up to liability for workers’ injuries.

The Cook County wrongful death lawsuit of Jensen v. Earle M. Jorgensen Co., et al., No. 09 L 2754, involved the death of a worker killed during an industrial accident. The Illinois lawsuit alleged that various entities were involved in maintaining an unsafe environment which resulted in the circumstances that led to Jensen’s death.

Twenty-eight year-old Brian Jensen was working as a service technician for Katso, Inc.; in the capacity of his employment, Jensen performed maintenance on Katso products housed at various facilities. At the time of his death, Jensen and some co-workers were performing maintenance and repair work on an automatic storage and retrieval system manufactured by his employer’s parent company, Katso Machinenbau GMBH & Co. The machine itself was located at Earle M. Jorgensen, Co., an industrial plant located in Schaumburg, Illinois.

During the course of his repair work, Jensen moved to inspect the progress of the maintenance job. However, as he moved forward, a crane in a nearby aisle was moving a cassette through the same aisle where Jensen was working. The large container of steel products struck Jensen, pinning his head against a large beam and killing him.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Jensen’s employer, Katso, Inc.; the owner of the plant where the work place injury occurred, Earle M. Jorgensen, Co.; and the owner of the storage retrieval system, Katso Machinenbau GMBH & Co. Included in the Illinois complaint were allegations that the Jorgensen facility was unsafe and contained a design defect that made its facility inherently dangerous.

The work place injury lawsuit was critical of the plant’s design in that it allowed Jensen, or any worker, to enter the aisle without requiring the nearby crane to automatically shut down. Also, while the plant did have a remote control safety device that would have allowed a worker like Jensen to manually shut down the crane, this device was not made known to Jensen or his co-workers.

The various defendants settled the Illinois wrongful death lawsuit prior to trial for a total of $1 million. At the time of his death the decedent was not married and did not have any surviving children. Therefore, the settlement would go to his next surviving kin, which in this case were his parents, and two siblings, a brother and sister.

Chicago’s Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Cook County work injury lawsuits and Illinois wrongful death matters for individuals and families for more than 35 years in and around Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding areas, including Alsip, Morton Grove, Des Plaines, and Winthrop Harbor.

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