Jury Returns $180 Million Verdict in Silo Fire Case

A federal jury in Southern Illinois returned a $180 million verdict in a case involving a fire at a grain elevator which severely burned three employees.  In March, 2010, a chemical reaction started with the grain pellets in the silo sending a peculiar smell and smoke through the grain elevator complex.  The employees arrived on the scene to clean the silo.  On April 27, 2010, a plant supervisor advised the workers to pull out their equipment so that the fire department could enter the silo.  The silo then exploded.  One employee John Jentz, was burned over 70 % of his body.  Since the fire, he has underwent multiple skin grafts.  Because of his injuries, Jentz no longer has sweat glands.  Thus, he has to be in climate controlled environments because his body cannot regulate its temperature.  Of the total amount of the verdict, the jury awarded $100 million in punitive damages.  The defendant has vowed that it will appeal.  The Law Offices of Eugene K. Hollander handled a similar case, Ibarra v. Pactiv Corporation, wherein the Plaintiff, an ironworker, was burned over 60% of his body when a fencepost from a sliding gate came into contact with an overhead electrical power line.  The case settled before trial.
Categories: Workplace Injury