Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Nathaniel Cooper, 24, was working in the packing area of a United Parcel Services (UPS) facility when he suffered heat exhaustion that led to his fatal cardiac event. He is survived by his fiancé and a minor child.

His fiancé, on behalf of the couple’s child, sued UPS claiming it was negligent in that it directed Cooper to work in unsafe conditions despite knowing that he had cardiac problems.

The lawsuit also claimed that UPS was grossly negligent for choosing not to install an adequate ventilation system, establish mandatory rest schedules and monitor workers for heat stress. Apparently the UPS facility where Cooper was working was an enclosed area that held heat at high temperatures. Continue reading

Lisa Tam Chung, a Texas high school senior, bought a vacation package through the defendant, StudentCity.com Inc., for a trip to Cancun, Mexico. She added an optional snorkeling excursion as part of her package.

This unfortunate trip had a tragic ending when the snorkeling catamaran hit a coral reef and began to take on water. The crew of the boat was not able to help passengers who were on the boat. Lisa and her friend put on life preservers and tried to reach safety by grabbing a rope that extended between the catamaran and a small private vessel. Their efforts to reach safety failed when they were pulled under water. Lisa suffered heart failure and died. Her friend, Loren, suffered serious injuries, but she survived.

StudentCity is a Delaware corporation that has its principal place of business in Massachusetts. It sells vacation packages to students, including those traveling for spring break or to celebrate graduations.

Continue reading

Gilbert Gail Gerth was riding his lawnmower down a street when he was rear-ended by a pickup truck. The incident killed Gerth. At the time of the collision, the defendant pickup owner and driver, Gary Sachau, was insured under an automobile insurance policy with a $30,000 liability limit.

Gerth had an automobile insurance policy as well with an underinsured-motorist liability limit of $100,000 per person.  In addition, Gerth had an umbrella insurance policy with Grinnell Select Insurance Co. with an underinsured-motorist liability limit of $1 million per accident.

Dawn Goldstein, the executor of the estate for Gilbert Gerth, settled the claim against Sachau for $30,000, and her underinsured claim against Hartford for $100,000 minus $30,000 recovered from the settlement with Sachau.

Continue reading

Dennis Seay worked for Daniel Construction Co., which was a contractor for Celanese Corp. From 1971 through 1980, he did maintenance work at the Celanese polyester fiber plant located in Spartanburg, S.C. Seay was exposed to asbestos-containing products while working at Celanese. The different jobs that Seay had included handling various brands of gaskets, packing and insulation manufactured by John Crane Inc. and others for use on and in equipment throughout the Celanese plant.

In 2013, Seay at age 69 was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Seay underwent 3 procedures to reduce the size of his tumor and multiple procedures to drain fluid from his lung, which had collapsed on various occasions. Seay unfortunately died the following year at age 70. He was survived by his wife, two adult sons and one adult daughter.

Seay’s daughter, individually and on behalf of his estate and his wife, sued Celanese Corp. alleging that the company was aware of exposure to asbestos products used throughout the plant but chose not to warn of the dangers or to take other steps to protect workers like Seay. The Seay family contended that Celanese was in complete control of the plant and was responsible for auditing the safety program provided by Seay’s employer to ensure that it was adequate.

Continue reading

The Illinois Appellate Court has found that a rental car company, Enterprise Leasing, and the driver who rented the vehicle from it are not liable for a deadly drunken driving incident involving the rental car and the driver who was not the customer.

The Illinois First District Appellate Court dismissed the lawsuit filed by the estate of Laura Linderborg against Enterprise and David Soto, finding that they could not have foreseen the accident that eventually killed Laura Linderborg.

On April 2, 2012, David Soto rented a 2012 Nissan Altima from Enterprise. He parked the car at the house of his boss, Katrina Scimone, and left the keys there. Scimone’s boyfriend, Jesse Medina, took the car and drove it while he was drunk. Later that day he was involved in a fatal crash in Burbank, Ill., after colliding with Laura Linderborg’s car, killing himself and Linderborg, who survived for a while but died two months later from her injuries. Her medical bills totaled $1.34 million.

Continue reading

Vanessa Noboa used Orbitz to book and pay for a room at the Barceló Los Cabos Palace Hotel on the Baja Peninsula of Mexico.

She signed up for an all-terrain vehicle tour with Rancho Carisuva. During the tour, the all-terrain vehicle overturned and killed Noboa. Her family brought a lawsuit against Rancho Carisuva and Barceló Corporación Empresarial, a Spanish corporation. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

The presiding judge granted the defendants’ motions to dismiss for lack of specific personal jurisdiction. Neither of the defendants had personal contact with Illinois.

Continue reading

On July 14, 2007, 16-year-old Eric Jones went to the city of Springfield’s public beach with his brother and cousins. The public beach is located on Lake Springfield. Eric did not know how to swim. He was in the water at least chest-deep when he disappeared beneath the surface. His relatives, brother and cousins did not report him missing for an unknown number of minutes. The nearest lifeguard had not noticed Eric’s disappearance.

As soon as the lifeguards were notified, they began searching the lake for Eric. It took several minutes to find him in the opaque water. They were unable to resuscitate him.

Eric was survived by his mother and brother. The family filed a lawsuit arguing that the city lifeguards violated the city’s internal guidelines regarding where the lifeguards would be located, chose not to immediately form a line search in the area where Eric was last seen, and were guilty of willful and wanton misconduct for those failures. It was alleged in conclusion that the city’s actions or inactions were the cause of Eric’s drowning death.

Continue reading

The Illinois Appellate Court has affirmed a jury’s wrongful death verdict regarding the death of a woman who was hit by a truck as she stood on the side of a road next to her disabled car. The woman’s husband filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the truck driver, the truck’s owner, the trucking company that hired both of them and the logistics company who arranged for the shipping.

The woman’s family was successful at trial against all of the defendants in obtaining a jury verdict. On appeal the defendant’s argument centered on trial errors and agency issues.

The truck involved in the incident was in a supply chain routed for a major automaker. The automaker had arranged a particular supply change to reduce the time it would take to buy and hold parts, getting them only when the parts were needed.

Continue reading

Caterpillar Inc. purchased a factory owned by Bucyrus International located in Milwaukee. That facility was making strip-mining equipment. Because of the purchase, Caterpillar assumed the labor contract Bucyrus previously had negotiated with the United Steelworkers Union.

About two months after the July 2011 purchase, a 36-ton piece of machinery called a “crawler” crushed and killed a union worker at the Caterpillar plant.

The crawler apparently had shifted suddenly while being rotated by a crane, resulting in the fatality. Caterpillar reported the death to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and to the local police.

Continue reading

Jimmy Hill was 66 years old and was unloading a truckload of chicks at a farm when an employee of the transportation company J.B. Hunt drove a forklift over Hill’s ankle. Hill underwent surgery to repair the broken ankle and later died of post-operative sepsis. He is survived by his adult son.

Hill’s son sued J.B. Hunt claiming its employee, the forklift driver, chose not to follow the company’s safety policies and safety training. The lawsuit did not include a claim for lost income. The jury’s verdict of $3.4 million found the defendant J.B. Hunt 98% responsible and a non-party 2% liable for Hill’s injuries and untimely death.

The attorneys representing the Hill family were John P. Zelbst and David Butler. For trial the plaintiff engaged the expert services of an internal medicine physician and engineering expert, both of whom testified at the trial.

Continue reading