Mall attorney: Worker might have caused fatal Geneva bell tower accident

  • Flowers adorn the chain-link fence that surrounds the clock tower at the Geneva Commons where Donald Tentler II of West Dundee was killed in February 2017. Mall attorneys argue in court papers that Tentler caused the accident.

      Flowers adorn the chain-link fence that surrounds the clock tower at the Geneva Commons where Donald Tentler II of West Dundee was killed in February 2017. Mall attorneys argue in court papers that Tentler caused the accident. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/8/2019 6:07 AM

Did a West Dundee construction worker cause the accident that killed him in February 2017 while working on a bell tower at a Geneva mall?

Defense attorneys for Geneva Commons argue in a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by Donald Tentler II's widow that Tentler may have been at fault and, therefore, the mall should pay little or no damages to his estate.

 

Late last year, Lydia Tentler filed the lawsuit against the mall, Delaware-based LPF Geneva Commons LLC, Mid-America Asset Management, and the Quantum Sign Corp., and argued negligence and liability for the site in seeking damages in her husband's death.

The 47-year-old electrician and father of two, who was known for volunteering in his son's Cub Scout troop, St. Catherine of Siena Church and the Wounded Warrior project, died of suffocation after he was pinned by an aerial lift while installing a sign on the mall's bell tower.

Defense attorneys for the mall argue Tentler might have been responsible for the accident, or if he is even partially responsible, the mall and other parties would be liable for a lesser percentages of damages.

"At the time of/and immediately prior to the complained of occurrence, Donald Tentler failed to exercise ordinary care for his own safety and such failure was the sole proximate cause of the injury of which plaintiff now complains," wrote Meghan Gonnissen, an attorney defending the mall. Gonnissen noted Tentler failed to keep a proper look out and take needed precautions.

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Gonnissen did not respond for requests for further comment.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration began an investigation after the accident. Messages left for OSHA spokespersons Scott Allen and Rhonda Burke were not immediately returned Thursday.

Lydia Tentler's suit also argues Mid-America knew of "the defective aerial lift and the danger it posed to individuals on the property." The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages of more than $50,000 and is next due before a judge April 2.

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