14-year case ends in $12 million settlement for two Illinois families
Posted on April 9th, 2009 by Zane Cagle
In 1995, a tragic fire erupted at the Blue Island, IL oil refinery and took the lives of two mechanics, Michael Forsythe and Gary Szabla. This month, after fourteen years of litigating a wrongful death suit, their families finally received closure with a $12 million settlement with Clark USA.
At the time of their deaths, Forsythe and Szabla worked as maintenance mechanics for Clark Refining & Marketing, Inc. at the Blue Island oil refinery in the suburbs of Chicago. In March 1995, a fire erupted at the refinery while the two men were on their lunch break. After an investigation, authorities concluded that the fire was caused by other refinery operators who were performing maintenance work on a pipe without making sure that the flammable materials inside it had been depressurized.
Because the accident was caused by a co-worker’s error, Clark Refinery was held responsible for the men’s deaths. As a result, Clark Refinery paid out worker’s compensation benefits and the families filed wrongful death suits against Clark USA. The suit alleged that the refinery’s focus on reducing costs in order to increase revenue left less funding available for training, maintenance, supervision and safety, a decision that resulted in many maintenance workers being insufficiently trained to work on equipment.
When an employee is injured on the job due to another worker’s error or negligence on behalf of the company, that worker is entitled to legal compensation. If you have suffered injury or lost a loved one under such circumstances, please call an experienced St. Louis personal injury lawyer at Cagle today to discuss your options. We are available 24/7 for a free consultation.