$1.44 Million Wrongful Death Judgment
C. v. Mervis Industries
We represented the wife and four surviving children of a 51-year-old torch-cutter who was working on a portion of a single-deck rail car when a piece of steel fell on him, causing his wrongful death. We brought suit against the company where he was working, arguing that it chose not to make the work area safe and that it should have recognized the hazards involved in torch-cutting work and guarded against those hazards. However, the trial court ruled the company did not owe a duty to the torch-cutter because he was working for an independent contractor at the time of his death.
We took the case to the Illinois Appellate Court, which reversed the trial court’s judgment by holding that the company did have control over how the work was done and did not exercise this control with reasonable care. The case went back to trial and, more than six years after our initial lawsuit was filed, a Cook County jury found in favor of our clients and awarded them a $1.44 million judgment.