Jury Awards $10.875 Million to Man Burned in Home Explosion Caused by Defective Concrete Sealer

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On April 21, 2015, a Cook County, Illinois jury returned a verdict for $10.875 million in favor of a man who was severely burned in a home explosion while using an allegedly unreasonably dangerous concrete sealer. The injured man and his wife were represented by Passen Law Group, a Chicago-based personal injury and wrongful death law firm.

Stephen M. Passen

We are pleased our clients will be fully compensated, and hope this verdict results in safer products being manufactured to protect the public against unnecessary harm.

A Cook County, Illinois jury recently returned a verdict of $10,875,622 against a concrete sealer manufacturer, and in favor of a man who was severely burned in a household explosion while using the product to seal his basement floor.

According to the complaint, on June 1, 2010, Andrzej Plizga was applying "Crystal Clear VOC," a concrete sealer manufactured by The Euclid Chemical Company, to his home's concrete basement floor. The vapors of the sealer migrated to a utility room where they were ignited by a water heater pilot light, causing a large explosion.

Mr. Plizga sustained severe burns to approximately 67% of his body, although there were no facial burns. He was hospitalized for several months where he underwent skin grafts to his hands, arms and legs. This was followed by weeks of inpatient therapy.    

At the time of the incident, he was working as a union bricklayer. Due to the extensive injuries to his hands, plaintiffs alleged he is unable to return to work.

Mr. Plizga and his wife filed a "strict product liability" action against The Euclid Chemical Company. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged in the complaint that the sealer was formulated too flammable for indoor, household use, and also was labeled in violation of The Federal Hazardous Substances Act and equivalent Illinois law. The defense, according to its affirmative defenses, argued that Mr. Plizga misused the product and assumed the risk of injury by failing to turn off ignition sources or read the Material Safety Data Sheet, as instructed in the warning labels.

The trial lasted three weeks and on April 21, 2015, the jury returned a verdict of $10,875,622 in favor of the plaintiffs and against The Euclid Chemical Company. Mr. Plizga's medical bills and lost wages totaled $2.7 million, with the remainder of the verdict for pain and suffering, loss of normal life, loss of society and disfigurement. The Honorable Judge Lorna E. Propes, Circuit Court of Cook County, presided over the trial.

The plaintiffs were represented by Stephen Passen and Matthew Passen of Passen Law Group, a Chicago-based law firm concentrating in cases involving severe personal injury and wrongful death.

The trial occurred in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, No. 10 L 14488

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