$12 Million Victory for Chicago Residents Who Filed Lawsuit for Botched Implosion

With the help of a federal court, Hilco Redevelopment and the Little Village families who lost everything in the Crawford Coal explosion have reached a $12.25 million settlement.

Hilco was accused of emitting a dangerous cloud of debris and particulate matter into the area and demonstrating a flagrant disdain for the safety of the community in a federal class action lawsuit that was brought soon after the 2020 implosion. The litigation resulted in a settlement. Residents who were eligible might file an objection no later than February 26 and submit a settlement claim no later than March 26 in order to obtain cash compensation ranging from $200 to $400.

During the hearing, two individuals addressed the court, but no formal complaints were lodged against the settlement. Even though her home was technically outside of the settlement’s geographic region, Elizabeth Rodriguez begged the court to change the borders so that she, too, could collect the money. She said that her spouse was ill with COVID-19 during the explosion and that he still had trouble breathing.

The misguided attempt to demolish a Little Village coal plant in April 2020 prompted the filing of the class-action lawsuit. In the aftermath of the implosion, residents complained of persistent respiratory issues and trouble breathing. Hilco is now immune to further legal action because of the deal. Following the city’s subcontracting of the disastrous operation, the business has remained silent on the development.

The total settlement for each person is a meager $317, or about .03 percent of the total settlement. The compensation shows that someone is willing to admit fault and take responsibility for what happened.

The previous mayor, Lori Lightfoot, placed the blame on the Hilco developer the city had dismissed for the project’s apparent failure almost four years ago; the city’s former inspector general had previously said that authorities responsible for overseeing the destruction should be held accountable.

The investigation, which concluded in 2021 but was secretly maintained by the previous mayor’s office, declared that the whole affair had been wholly “avoidable.” Upon taking over for Lori Lightfoot, Brandon Johnson was assigned the responsibility of repairing the damage caused by his Democratic colleague, including the collapse of the approximately 400-foot-tall chimney of the decommissioned Crawford coal-fired power station.