ANESI OZMON partners Michael L. Teich and Steven A. Berman secured $10.03 million settlement in a construction negligence case on behalf of a 32-year old ironworker from Local 393 in Aurora, Illinois. Three defendants agreed to pay $9.55 million on August 23, 2019, after five days of trial before the Honorable Judge Ruben Castillo in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiff’s employer, Lakeside Rack Installers (Lakeside), settled shortly before jury selection for an additional $486,000. The settlement came after Mr. Teich and Mr. Berman rejected previous unreasonable pre-trial settlement offers that did not reflect the serious nature of the knee and wrist injuries that caused the loss of this ironworker’s career.
The plaintiff filed suit against Duke Realty Services, LLC. (Duke), Steel King Industries, Inc. (Steel King), and a third defendant for injuries he sustained during the construction of a warehouse distribution center. He sustained severe injuries when a large steel rack system that was not anchored to the floor collapsed onto him after it was struck by an untrained and uncertified forklift operator.
Steel King was hired to manufacture, deliver, and install the steel rack system in the warehouse, Duke was the general contractor, and the third defendant, for whom the warehouse was being built, had employees on-site to oversee the work. The plaintiff worked for a subcontractor, Lakeside, hired to assist with the installation. The plaintiff presented evidence that in May 2017 the three defendants were pushing the installers to build the racks at a dangerously fast pace, ignoring the standard practice of anchoring the racks to the concrete floor as soon as they were erected, even after they had been warned of the danger. When a forklift operator hit an unanchored rack, it collapsed on top of the plaintiff, causing extensive injuries which required multiple surgeries. The forklift operator later acknowledged that he was not properly trained or certified to operate the forklift.
“By taking these defendants to trial we were able to provide our client and his family with financial security and send a message to these corporations that they cannot put people in danger and get away with it,” Mr. Teich stated. Mr. Berman added, “We never stop fighting for our clients until they receive the maximum compensation they deserve.”