On June 28, 2011, after a seven-day trial a Macon County, Illinois, jury returned a $3,091,331 verdict in favor of a 40-year-old man from Shelbyville, Illinois. The verdict is the highest ever recorded for a brain injury in Macon County, as confirmed by the Illinois Jury Verdicts Reporter. The record verdict was featured in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
The worker was injured on March 19, 2007, when an above-ground storage tank suddenly ruptured at a corn processing plant owned and operated by Tate & Lyle in Decatur, Illinois. The sudden collapse released a tidal wave of over 250,000 gallons of hot corn gluten which knocked the worker off his feet and caused a closed head injury. Parts of his body were burned and he was later diagnosed with a brain injury with resulting short-term memory loss and personality change.
The lawsuit alleged the accident resulted from the negligent maintenance and operation of the above ground storage tank. More specifically, the injured worker, represented by Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. alleged that the failure to implement proper inspection procedures allowed the tank to become severely corroded and ultimately collapse. The company maintained that its inspection program was sufficient and the corrosion could not have been detected due to an unusual design of the tank which hid the corrosion behind a steel beam welded to the outside of the tank. The company also argued the plaintiff failed to mitigate his damages by not seeking certain medical care recommended by a neuropsychologist and by not returning to his former employer when he was released to full duty two months after the occurrence.
Before trial the defendant corporation offered the plaintiff $100,000 to settle the case. During the trial the defendant raised its offer to $500,000. By choosing to wait for a jury verdict on the advice of his attorney the worker recovered six times more than the corporation’s highest settlement offer.
Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. Partner Michael L. Teich served as lead trial counsel for the injured worker. Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. talented support staff also worked hard on this case and contributed to the result.
Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. is a personal injury law firm based in Chicago, Illinois. The personal injury attorneys at Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. have achieved multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements for individuals with lawsuits arising from medical malpractice, product liability, semitruck and motor vehicle accidents, workplace injuries and construction accidents in Illinois and Wisconsin. Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C.’s premier aviation negligence lawyers represent victims of commercial and general aviation disasters nationwide.