The Law Firm of Vitel and Spitz Joseph A. Vitell
Edward Spitz

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Worker gets $17,000 check in goose attack
Delivery man was hurt on the job in a case of fowl play
By Gary Wisby, Environment Reporter

Nolan Lett collected a check for $17,767.54 Tuesday, the outcome of a wild-goose chase that cost him a fractured wrist. The money came from his former employer to settle what could be the state's first workers' compensation case ever to involve wildlife, said Lett's attorney.

Lett, 57, was a delivery man for Aramark Corp.'s catering division in Oak Brook. He was trying to report to work on Feb. 27, 1998, when two Canada geese blocked his way.

So he went to another door, only to encounter a third goose. "It started acting crazy," Lett said. "I tried to hurry in the building, but it flew at my face. I tried to fan it off. It was very ferocious."

Lett said he turned to run, but tripped and fell, breaking his wrist.

In preparing for trial, the firm attorney could find no similar cases. But we did discover a workers' comp case from 1989 involving a security guard who was killed by a stray bullet fired from a public housing development across the street. The guard's employer, the Illinois Institute of Technology, was ordered to pay because the shooting occurred in a high-crime area - subjecting him to a higher risk than that faced by the general public.

Lett also was at a higher risk, said his lawyer. The setting of the Aramark building "was a 'high-goose' area, as opposed to a high-crime area," he said.

We had an urban-waterfowl expert ready to testify that the area attracted geese by offering short grasses for feeding, a pond for roosting and drinking and good visibility to protect from predators.

Attorneys for Aramark declined to comment on the case.

Bob Hughes, a veteran birder who lives in Uptown, said Canada geese "can get really aggressive when they're protecting their young during nesting season."

But Lett's run-in with a goose occurred in February, when the birds aren't nesting. "That's really strange," Hughes said. Annoyed geese might charge, flap their wings and bite, "but they can't hurt you," Hughes said. "They don't have teeth." A publication of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources says, "Most of the injuries associated with goose attacks are related to falling, rather than being struck by a wing or being bitten."

November 30, 2003 - Firm announces publication of Injury Justice Chronicle

Today marks a historic event in the history of the firm - the publication of the first issue of the Injury Justice Chronicle. This semi-annual report will not only keep you up to date on the current events happening at the firm, but will also provide you with updates on current developments in the law governing worker's compensation injuries and personal injuries in the state of Illinois. At our firm, we are always striving to provide quality legal service to our clients. The Injury Justice Chronicle is one more tool to keep you informed on what is happening at our firm and with the legal issues that could affect you.

February, 2002 - The Firm Serves as Co-counsel in SUV Rollover/Faulty Tire Litigation

In February of 2002, with our help as co-counsel, the family of a driver who was killed in an SUV rollover accident concluded confidential settlements with the automobile manufacturer and tire manufacturer.

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