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The Healy Law Firm Represents Plaintiff in $12 Million Settlement with Clark USA Over Fatal Illinois Oil Refinery Accident

Agreement brings legal closure to 14-year litigation initiated after two mechanics were killed in 1995 oil refinery at Clark Refining in Blue Island, Ill.

Chicago, IL (Lexis Nexis) April 6, 2009 -- In an agreement that brings legal closure to a 14-year nightmare, plaintiffs lawyers for the families of two mechanics killed when fire erupted at an oil refinery in Blue Island, Ill. today announced that they have entered into a $12 million settlement with Clark USA.

In the matter of Marguerite Forsythe, as Administrator of the Estate of Michael F. Forsythe, deceased v. Clark USA, Inc. (Court No. 2007 L 009909), former presiding Judge Donald O'Connell mediated a settlement between the parties. The settlement was approved by Illinois Circuit Court Judge Thomas Quinn.

Michael Forsythe and Gary Szabla were both employed as maintenance mechanics for Clark Refining & Marketing, Inc., which operated an oil refinery in Blue Island, Illinois. On March 13, 1995, both men were killed when a fire erupted at the refinery while they were on their lunch break. According to the lawsuit, the fire was caused by other Clark Refining operators who were performing maintenance work by replacing a four-inch valve on a machine without ensuring that the flammable materials within the pipe had been depressurized.

After Clark Refining paid each estate under the Workers' Compensation Act, the plaintiffs filed wrongful death lawsuits against Clark USA, the sole shareholder of Clark Refining. The lawsuit alleged that Clark USA's overall business strategy was focused on limiting costs and increasing revenue. As a result, funds for training, maintenance, supervision and safety at the refinery were insufficient and the employees tasked with refinery maintenance were not trained or qualified to work on refinery equipment.

The Forsythe family was represented by Martin Healy, Jr. and David Huber, of The Healy Law Firm, Ltd., and the Szabla family was represented by Edward G. Willer of Corboy & Demetrio.

"No amount of compensation can repair the damage done to the Forsythe family that day in March 1995, said Healy, a highly regarded product liability attorney in Chicago. "The family is pleased that the matter is resolved after many years of litigation."

For more information about The Healy Law Firm, please go to or call 877.767.4591.


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