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Phil Tatlow handled a wrongful death case in St. Charles County Circuit Court for the wrongful death of Stevie Webb who died in a confined space in St. Charles County at the Boschertown Sanitary Lift Station. Plaintiffs included: Debra Webb, the surviving spouse of Mr. Webb, and two adult children, Amanda Webb and Stevie Webb, Jr. Mr. Webb died on the second day of the job on August 28, 2012, after working in the underground spaces on two separate days.

The case was brought against the City of St. Charles, EMC, Inc., Coatings Unlimited, Inc. and KCI Construction, Inc. alleging numerous OSHA safety violations against Coatings, and KCI Construction, Inc. These violations of the safety rules included:  failure of the companies to follow proper confined space requirements, failure to train on hazardous chemicals, failure to provide proper respiratory equipment, failure to provide air monitoring equipment, and failure to provide a hole watch among other violations. The case was brought in worker’s compensation and civil court at the same time, but the wrongful death case in civil court proceeded first.  

Mr. Webb died in an underground chamber which is classified as a confined space. He died after a two-day exposure to both MEK and paint solvents that he used to clean and paint pipes in six underground tanks that had been redone by KCI Construction, the General Contractor on the job. Coatings Unlimited, Inc., who was Mr. Webb’s employer, was hired as part of a punch list to finish the job to St. Charles’ satisfaction, by cleaning and coating pipes that had previously been missed on the job.  Coatings Unlimited and Mr. Webb, were hired to clean and paint underground pipes in the Boschertown sanitary lift station. EMC was a company that was supposed to provide additional on-site safety training to Mr. Webb.  Mr. Webb’s supervisor from Coatings Unlimited, Inc. asked him to perform the job, but did not educate him on the proper safety equipment to be used, the depths of the confined spaces, or of the hazards and risks of the job site. KCI Construction, Inc. was the general contractor on the job and had ultimate authority over Mr. Webb, as their subcontractor, to make sure that the job was performed safely and according to the specification on the site-specific safety plan. Plaintiffs alleged that KCI breached their safety obligations and ordered Mr. Webb to clean and paint the pipes and ignored all OSHA and safety guidelines on the job, leading to Mr. Webb’s death.

The case was set for a two-week jury trial in July 2016, but recently settled in mediation for a confidential sum that exceeded the lifetime benefits of the worker’s compensation claim. As part of the settlement, Plaintiffs agreed to dismiss the worker’s compensation claim.

Confidential Wrongful Death Settlement at Mediation

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