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Trial Attorneys at Romanucci & Blandin, LLC Reach $2.6 Million Dollar Settlement for the family of a Father Left Dead following Fatal Burn Injuries while Working on an Unsafe Job Site

August 21, 2017

Medical malpractice attorneys at Romanucci & Blandin, LLC announced a settlement today on behalf of their client, a Chicago-area family, whose devoted, hard-working, 50-year-old father suffered extreme burn injuries on the job. Upon experiencing severe injuries, the factory that he worked at as a temporary laborer would not call an ambulance and had a co-worker drive him to a clinic instead. The delay in treatment lead to respiratory failure, sepsis and multisystem organ failure that led to his untimely death. After protracted discovery, the family received a $2.6 million dollar settlement.

To obtain the settlement, the attorneys at Romanucci & Blandin had to overcome a number of notable legal hurdles including: a denial of insurance coverage; the fact that the deceased worker lived with his common law wife for 30 years, but they were not legally married; and the defendant claiming that the decedent was a loaned servant under the law and therefore they only had to pay a small statutory amount for death benefits. As a result, the case was highly contested and closely supervised by Judge Kathy Flanagan, who managed the case and approved the settlement.

In its lawsuit, the plaintiff’s family alleged that on November 17, 2011 the deceased worker was assigned to work at Raani Corp., a producer of cosmetic and beauty products in Bedford Park, Illinois by his temporary staffing agency. He was instructed to clean a 500 gallon mixing tank with 170-185 degree water/acid solution without any training or appropriate protective equipment. While cleaning the unit, the near-boiling solution was caused to erupt from the top of the tank, spilling onto the worker. Despite the obvious burns, and at the company owner’s instructions, supervisors at Raani Corp. refused to call an ambulance to transport the worker to a hospital and instead had him fill out paperwork for approximately 45 minutes before another worker was told to transport him to an occupational health clinic that was unequipped to treat his severe injuries. The clinic then called an ambulance and the worker was transported to Loyola University Burn Unit, arriving approximately 98 minutes after the incident occurred.

At Loyola, the temp worker was found to have second and third degree burns on 20-29% of his body, with a total burn area, including first and second degree burns, on 70-80% of his body. He remained in intensive care for three weeks where due to the nature of his injuries, his condition quickly progressed to cause respiratory failure, liver failure, severe metabolic acidosis, sepsis and coagulopathy. He lost his life on December 8, 2011 – less than one month following the incident.

“This case tragically exemplifies how corporations are able to take advantage of vulnerable, minority populations who are working tirelessly to make a decent living and support their families by placing them in unsafe working conditions, without proper training and for minimal compensation,” said plaintiff’s attorney, Stephan Blandin, principal and partner at Romanucci & Blandin, LLC. “The fact that the owner of Raani Corp. gave direct orders to not call an ambulance for severely injured workers points to the lack of accountability and complete disregard for the safety of his workers.”

“Securing justice for this family and holding the company accountable was paramount for us,” added plaintiff’s attorney, Michael E. Holden, senior associate at Romanucci & Blandin, LLC. Following the incident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) performed an investigation which resulted in Raani Corp. being assessed over $470,000 in penalties and a placement in OSHA’s “Severe Violator Enforcement Program”. Further, an internal memo from an OSHA investigator recommended criminal prosecution. This confirmed a dramatic lack of professional and personal oversight from the employer.”

Rebecca Neubauer and Jared Wise, associates at Romanucci & Blandin, also assisted in representing the plaintiff family.

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