Woman's suit against Illinois American over husband's suffocation in utility vault suit in court

Amelia Flood May 31, 2011, 7:35am


Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge is set to hear a plea to settle a woman's suit over her husband's suffocation death in a utility vault at 9 a.m. on June 3.

Carolyn Estes, on behalf of her husband's estate, is seeking settle her suit against the Illinois American Water Company for an undisclosed sum.

Carolyn Estes' suit sought damages in excess of $150,000 and other relief.

According to her claims, her husband, Jerry Estes, suffocated when he entered one of Illinois-American's utility vaults as part of his job with the Forest Homes-Maple Park Water District.

Jerry Estes died in 2008.

Illinois-American filed a counterclaim against the water district alleging it did not properly train Jerry Estes.

Carolyn Estes filed a petition for authority to settle her claims on behalf of her husband's estate May 11.

According to that motion, Carolyn Estes will retain 90 percent of the unspecified settlement amount.

Her attorneys will be paid fees of about 33 percent out of the lump settlement amount.

Litigation expenses that are spelled out in the document total $8,099.86.

The Estes' three adult children will split the remaining 10 percent of the settlement.

The case had been set for trial in 2010 but the date was pushed off.

Mary Massa represents Carolyn Estes.

Carl Pesce represents the water company.

Michael Garavalia represents the Forest Homes water district.

The case is Madison case number 09-L-734.

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