$2 Million Settlement in Construction Site Wrongful Death Case
On the eve of trial, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Donald M. Devlin of Chicago, Illinois, approved a $2,000,000 wrongful death settlement on behalf of the family of an 8 year-old boy who died when he was asphyxiated in a pile of sand at a construction site in Glenview. Chicago wrongful death attorney Edward Willer of the Chicago personal injury law firm Corboy & Demetrio represented the family.
On Saturday, July 28, 2000, Evan Rohrer walked from his Glenview home to a residential construction site down the street for the purpose of obtaining scrap wood to build a model ship. While on site, he began digging a tunnel through a pile of mortar sand, when the sand pile collapsed, suffocating him.
Prior to this incident, the general contractor, defendant, New England Builders, Inc., had partially fenced the perimeter of the condominium work site, but the majority of the site was unfenced and provided open access to neighborhood children during off hours.
The lawsuit, targeting New England Builders, its civil engineering firm, CE Design, Ltd., and the supplier of the mortar sand, Jacks Masonry Construction, Inc., alleged negligence in maintaining an in-fenced work site containing a sand pile which posed the unknown danger of mortar sand which has a tendency to collapse.
According to Willer, "this case focused on two highly controversial issues: whether the construction sand (in this instance, mortar sand) posed an open and obvious danger to this boy and whether the general contractor and developer had a right to rely on the Village for perimeter fencing code interpretation. Another party defendant was CE Design, Ltd., a civil engineering firm."
The defendants had relied heavily on the fact that the Village of Glenview had issued permits for construction on this project and never required perimeter fencing to be implemented
The $2 million settlement will be paid by New England Builders, CE Design. Ltd., and Jacks Masonry Construction, Inc.