Subcontractor hauling dirt for projects at O’Hare had shoulder, knee injuries

BY JORDYN REILAND
Law Bulletin staff writer

A truck driver who was injured when the dump truck he was operating flipped onto its driver’s side has settled his lawsuit with all but one of the defendants for more than $3.9 million.

Circuit Judge Irwin J. Solganick entered a settlement order on Jan. 7 after the parties completed four mediations with retired Cook County judge and ADR Systems mediator William E. Gomolinski. The case remains pending against defendant Chicago Airport Resources Enterprises LLC.

In January 2016, a major construction project was ongoing at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. All of the contractors involved in the projects were instructed to dump their excess dirt “spoils” onto the “Schlitz Road Stockpile” — located on airport property — so they did not have to pay to haul it elsewhere.

On Jan. 5, 2016, Gildardo Antunez, employed by CAS Construction Inc., was tasked to haul the dirt on behalf of defendant Reyes Group Ltd., an excavation contractor for some of the ongoing projects. Antunez was brought onto the site by defendant hauling sub-contractor E. King Construction.

On that day Antunez, while attempting to dump the spoils onto the designed site, flipped his truck onto its driver’s side after the wheels sunk into the soft soil as he raised his dump box.

He contended the ground was too soft, he was on a greater than 5% slope and no spotters were present, making for unsafe conditions, according to one of his attorneys Christopher M. Norem of Parente & Norem P.C.

Antunez, then 57, sustained a left scapular fracture, a left full thickness rotator cuff tear that required surgery, a right knee medial meniscus tear requiring surgery, aggravation of a preexisting degenerative disk disease, among other injuries. He has not returned to work, Norem said.

The settlement also includes a $3.975 million set-off, the total value of the agreement, with the remaining defendant.

Antunez was also represented by Matthew J. Coleman of Parente & Norem P.C.

Norem said he is “extremely pleased with the result on a very complicated fact pattern.”

“Gildardo was literally the lowest level third tier hauling subcontractor on the project and we were able to obtain a just resolution for him from the settled defendants despite their best efforts to blame him and his employer for the event,” Norem said in an email.

Meccon Industries, a general contractor, is represented by Anthony J. Cacchillo of Cacchillo Law Group.

The city and Aero Chicago LLC, a project developer, are represented by Michael S. McGrory of SmithAmundsen LLC.

Reyes Group is represented by Yaro M. Melnyk of Cassiday Schade LLP.

Autumn Construction Services Inc., Meccon’s site safety contractor, is represented by Matthew J. Ligda of Pretzel & Stouffer Chtd.

FCL Builders Inc., a general contractor, is represented by Daniel P. Costello of Daniel P. Costello & Associates PC.

Austin Power Partners, a general contractor, and Lindahl Brothers Inc., an excavation contractor, are represented by David J. Darling of Stone & Johnson Chtd.

Plote Construction Inc., an excavation contractor, is represented by Bryan Curry of Litchfield Cavo LLP.

E. King Construction Co. is represented by John S. Huntley of Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman LLP.

Chicago Airport Resources Enterprises LLC, in charge of providing quality control, site engineering and site safety on behalf of the city, is represented by Thomas R. Pender of Cremer Spina Shaughnessy Jansen & Siegert LLC.

None of the above parties could immediately be reached for comment.

CAS Construction Co. is represented by Jennifer Rawe Wagner of Magnani & Buck Ltd. Wagner declined to comment.

The case is Gildardo Antunez v. Meccon Industries, Inc., et al., 16 L 10332.