Antioch restaurant fireplace lawsuit settled for $1M


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Apr 01, 2023

Antioch restaurant fireplace lawsuit settled for $1M

A woman injured in 2020 when an Antioch restaurant’s outdoor gas fireplace

A woman injured in 2020 when an Antioch restaurant's outdoor gas fireplace exploded has settled a lawsuit for just under $1 million, according to her attorneys.

LaVerne Burress, a Lake County resident, agreed to a $995,500 settlement in her lawsuit against Anastasia's Restaurant and Sports Lounge on May 12, days before the case was to be heard in Lake County Court.

Buress and her husband were dining in the outdoor patio area of the business on Sept. 16, 2020, when the outdoor fireplace exploded. Burress, who was seated near the fireplace, suffered a laceration to her Achilles tendon and was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to her lawsuit.

She filed suit against the restaurant in 2021.

Her attorneys at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard said the explosion was likely caused by a pinhole crack in the fireplace's gas line. The fireplace, though, had been built in a way that made it impossible to inspect any of the gas lines, the law firm said.

"The gas lines of the fireplace that exploded had never been inspected since it was constructed eight years before the incident. If any kind of annual inspection had been performed, it would have revealed that the wrong kind of connection hose was used, and that there were signs of deterioration requiring replacement with the correct kind of gas line," her attorney, John A. Mennie, said.

The restaurant should have made alterations to the masonry fireplace that would have permitted required annual inspections to take place, the suit alleged.

An attorney representing the restaurant did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.