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County bldg fire settlements top $100 mil.

Monday, April 28, 2008
Crain's Chicago Business
by Lorene Yue

(Crain’s) — Victims of a fatal 2003 downtown building fire reached another settlement with defendants on Monday, bringing total compensation to $100 million.

A $74-million settlement with the City of Chicago, 69 West Washington Management Co. and UMB was announced just before jury selection was to begin in a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit.

A separate $26-million settlement was reached with six other defendants last Tuesday.

The city will pay $50 million to settle the lawsuits stemming. A Chicago Law Department spokeswoman says the city will directly pay $15 million and the remaining $35 million will be covered by insurance. The combined $100 million settlement also includes $9 million from the county. The county was one of six defendants who settled lawsuits over the fire last week.

 “We are gratified that the City of Chicago and others decided to settle the matter so that it can focus on other city business,” Robert Clifford, lead attorney, said in a statement. “At this time, the settlement will allow the families to try to move on with their broken lives and try to put the pieces back together.”

The settlements mark the end of a lawsuit filed by 22 plaintiffs against the city and eight companies. The suit claimed that the defendants were at fault when six people perished after being trapped in a stairwell during an Oct. 17, 2003, fire in the Cook County Administration Building at

69 W. Washington St.
Sixteen other people were injured in the fire on the building’s 12th Floor.

The Associated Press contributed.

 



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