meyers & flowers files lawsuit for family of man crushed to death by a trash compactor
On July 30, 2013, Roger Mirro, 56, was killed by a trash compactor in the basement of his condominium in Palatine, Illinois while he was searching for a cell phone he believed was accidentally dropped down a garbage shoot.
One of the condominium association board members gave Roger the keys to the utility room where the trash collected but did not warn Roger that a trash compactor was attached to the dumpster and would start automatically if its electronic eye was triggered. The Board Member failed to accompany Roger to the utility room, nor did the Board Member call the Management Company and insure that the power to the compactor would be turned off before Roger searched the dumpster.
When Roger arrived at the utility room, there was no signage warning him of the danger. When Roger entered the room, a ladder had already been placed against the machine. Not appreciating the danger, Roger climbed the ladder and leaned over the hopper hoping to locate the bag of trash that he had sent down from his 4th floor unit. While peering into the dumpster, Roger either was hit from a trash bag that had come down the chute or otherwise lost his balance and fell into the compactor’s loading chamber. Roger's body triggered the photoelectric sensor and a compaction cycle began. There was no safety control device inside the machine nor any steps inside the machine that could have allowed Roger to stop the walls or climb out. As result, the compactor’s ram began compressing the space and Roger was unable to escape.
"Since 1980, hundreds of people have been maimed or killed by stationary industrial compactors such as the one that killed Roger. Nearly all of these injuries and deaths involved workers who were maimed despite being trained and familiar with the dangers of these machines. The condominium association and the property manager should never allow a resident unsupervised access to a utility room where an industrial compactor is located, and in any event, if for some reason access is allowed, they should have insured that the machine’s power is off before any non-trained technician approaches the machine. This is particular true where the industrial compactor is automatically activated via a photoelectric sensor."
According to Craig Brown "the defendants gave Rodger access to a hidden death trap. This tragedy would never have occurred if Management Company had properly placed warning signs outside of the utility room door and on the machine, and even more importantly, had instructed the board as to the dangers of the machine and the inappropriateness of ever allowing a resident unsupervised access to the utility room."
Meyers & Flowers expect the case to go to trial in Cook County Illinois in 2015. For more details about this case, please see the Chicago Tribune Article at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-02-11/news/chi-lawsuit-man-crushed-looking-for-cellphone-20140211_1_trash-compactor-south-clubhouse-drive-roger-mirro