Attorneys Timothy M. Whiting and Michael J. Goldberg, earned one of the highest wrongful death recoveries in the State of Illinois in 2007 for a 41 year-old man who was burned to death as a result of a chemical plant explosion. On June 14, 2006, Noe Leiva, a truck delivery person, entered the Bellwood, Illinois chemical plant of the defendant, Universal Building Products, to make a routine delivery when the chemicals had spilled causing a vapor cloud which resulted in a tragic explosion burning 90% of Mr. Leiva’s body. As a result of his severe burns, he deceased 3 days following the explosion. Mr. Leiva left behind a wife of 19 years and 9 children from the ages of 3 to 18. Mr. Whiting and Mr. Goldberg alleged in a complaint filed in Cook County that the Defendants were negligent for failing to properly warn, for having improper practices within the mixing process of the chemical plant and failing to warn people such as Mr. Leiva in the event of a chemical spill that could result in the explosion as it occurred in this case. The Defendants argued that Mr. Leiva was warned not to go into the plant following the spill and ignored the warning resulting in his death. Despite the Defendants’ allegations and are over 25 depositions, Mr. Whiting and the firm were able to effectively show through chemical experts that the Defendants were liable for Mr. Leiva’s tragic death.
The case was filed on June 19, 2006 and was settled within 13 months of filing the case. The recovery amount of $8 Million and the time frame in which Mr. Whiting and Mr. Goldberg were able to obtain the result for Mr. Leiva’s wife and his children was unprecedented for Cook County, Illinois. The recovery amount was the second highest recovery for a wrongful death case in the State of Illinois for 2007.