$18 Million Settlement for Death from Fall of CNA Window
A settlement of $18 million was approved this morning in the case involving the death of Ana Bertha Flores, who was hit by a window that fell from the CNA Plaza located at 333 S. Wabash, Chicago, Illinois, on October 8, 1999.
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Robert J. Bingle and Philip Harnett Corboy, Jr., of Corboy & Demetrio announced the settlement on behalf of the Flores family after pretrial negotiations took place before the Honorable William D. Maddux, Presiding Judge of the Law Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County. The case was scheduled to start trial on October 23, 2002.
On October 8, 1999, Ana Flores, 38 at the time of her death, was walking along south Wabash Avenue holding the hand of her three year old daughter, Viridiana, when a piece of glass fell from the 29th floor of the CNA Plaza striking her on the head and killing her. Viridiana was still holding her mother's hand when the glass struck. This incident resulted in a general outcry from the media and the public to push for more stringent inspections of high-rise windows in the downtown area. The City of Chicago entered the fray and eventually CNA agreed to pay $250,000 in fines.
Robert J. Bingle of Corboy & Demetrio stated that:
"This family's tragedy was something that could easily have been avoided. The evidence was clear and compelling that CNA knew that there was a problem with the windows of its building as far back as the 1970s. Even after recommendations were made to replace all of the windows in the building, CNA chose less expensive alternatives."
Ana had been married to Antonio since 1985. Antonio and Ana had two daughters, Zaira, 14 at the time of her mother's death, and Viridiana, age 3.
Phil Corboy, Jr., stated:
"This is a wonderful family in which a loving mother and wife was taken away. Although Viridiana escaped physical injuries, evidenceat trial would have conclusively established that this beautiful youngg irl has suffered, and will continue to suffer, emotional injuries because of what she saw and what she has lost as a result of her mother's absence."
Corboy added that:
"We were not going to settle this case until we were absolutely sure that CNA alleviated all of the window problems that caused this tragedy to happen in the first place."
It wasn't until after this incident that CNA Insurance made the decision to replace all of the windows in the CNA Plaza building, and this project is now underway. But this decision provides little comfort to the Flores family, as Tony Flores would state:
"I certainly would not want something like this to happen to another family. For that reason, I am glad that CNA has been forced to replace those windows. I only wish it had made this decision long before my wife was killed and taken away from me and my daughters."