The widow of a man who suffocated to death in a utility vault in the Forest Homes–Maple Park Public Water District is asking to settle her wrongful death claims for an undisclosed sum.

Plaintiff Carolyn Estes, special administrator of the estate of Jerry Estes, filed her petition for authority to settle the suit brought against Illinois-American Water Company May 11.

Carolyn Estes sued Illinois-American, which in turn filed a counter claim against the water district for allegedly failing to warn her husband of the vault's oxygen vitiated environment before he entered it to turn off Illinois-American's water valves.

Jerry Estes died on Aug. 4, 2008.

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

Illinois-American alleged that the water district, Jerry Estes' employer, did not properly train him.

According to the petition for authority to settle, Carolyn Estes will retain 90 percent of the settlement minus attorney's fees of 33 and a third percent.

Litigation expenses spelled out in the document total $8,099.86.
The Estes' three adult children will split the remaining 10 percent of the settlement.

Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge presides.

The case's trial, set in December 2010, 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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