$180 Million Awarded In Chester, Illinois Grain Elevator Explosion

Three men who were badly injured during an explosion in a grain elevator in Chester, Illinois, were awarded $180 million.

The award was comprised of punitive damages totaling $100 million and compensatory damages for the remaining $80 million.

Compensatory damages will be roughly split among the victims in the following amounts: $41.5 million to John Jentz of St. Peter, Minnesota; $34 million to Justin Becker of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and $2.9 million to Robert Schmidt of Hutchinson, Minnesota.

An excerpt from the MyFoxChicago story of June 4 titled “$180M for 3 hurt in Chester grain elevator blast” :

During the trial, their attorneys argued that not only had the bin not been properly cleaned in nearly two decades, but that for weeks the company had been warned that the bin could explode at any moment — warnings it did not act upon or even share with the three victims and other workers.

The grain elevator was owned by ConAgra, who says it will appeal the decision.

The explosion, which severely injured the victims, happened when the men were removing equipment from a concrete grain bin at ConAgra’s site, and the bin exploded.

A description of the three victims’ injuries and resulting disabilities can be found in the June 4, 2012 ABC7Chicago story titled “$180M for 3 hurt in Ill. grain elevator blast.”

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