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Commonwealth Edison to Pay Bradley Boy $6.08 Million

04.09.1997

Judge Randye A. Kogan of the Circuit Court of Cook County today approved a $6.08 million structured settlement in a lawsuit filed by a Bradley boy against Commonwealth Edison Co. as a result of a fire triggered by an electrical explosion in which he was severely burned. The explosion occurred at a Commonwealth Edison substation facility in Kankakee.

Corboy & Demetrio in Chicago filed the suit on behalf of the family of Patrick Clocksin.

On May 15, 1992, Patrick, who was then 8 years old, crawled under a fence at the facility located at 147 Water Street in Kankakee. Once inside, the young boy used a rope to climb a tall metal frame that housed an electrical transformer, pretending that he was a telephone repairman, the firm says. "To Patrick, the metal framework was a jungle gym. Unknown to Patrick the transformer housed 34,500 volts of electricity." As a result of the electrical charge, Patrick received burns over 65 percent of his body. "The electrical arc caused Patrick's clothes to ignite and the burning clothes caused the major injuries," the firm says.

Two men who had been fishing on the nearby Kankakee River heard an explosion and rushed to the scene. The men then extinguished the fire on the boy's clothes with a jacket. Patrick was taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Kankakee and later was transported by helicopter to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where he remained for three months. Patrick underwent nine different surgeries, including six grafting procedures.

In their suit against Commonwealth Edison, Patrick and his parents, Daniel Larrigan and Linda Ann Larrigan, alleged that the fence surrounding Commonwealth Edison's facility was improperly constructed and maintained. The firm also reports that there were no warning signs at the facility.

The settlement calls for Patrick, who is currently completing sixth grade at Bradley Central School in Bradley, to be paid more than $6 million over the course of his lifetime. Part of the settlement amount will be deposited in a bank account for needs of Patrick that might arise in the next few years, while the other part will be paid over the course of Patrick's lifetime, beginning at age 18.

"Patrick is a delightful boy whose life was changed forever when he went out to play on a sunny spring afternoon," the firm says. "Every morning, noon and night of his life Patrick must live out the consequences of Commonwealth Edison's failure to do its job of protecting its ultrahazardous site with a high degree of care," the firm concludes.

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