Fire and Explosion Litigation

Fire and Explosion Litigation

Destruction and liability are by-products of fire and explosion. Before the embers are cool, interested parties and their insurers will mobilize lawyers and experts to assess and control liability risks. Insurance companies quickly move to retain subrogation counsel to prosecute claims against other parties to recover losses they are obligated to pay under their first party insurance policies.

Product manufacturers, owners, builders, designers, architects, and their insurance carriers need a law firm that has the capacity to meet the challenges of such fast-paced, high-stakes litigation. Being a nationally recognized product liability law firm has allowed Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP's attorneys to expand their expertise into a specialized niche in successfully representing defendants in litigation stemming from fires, explosions and other catastrophic events, such as the October 2003 69 West Washington high-rise fire that claimed six lives and injured dozens more, the 2007 Evergreen Plaza mall fire and the 2009 Holy Name Cathedral fires.
When disasters occur, it is essential that a law firm participate and direct a thorough investigation and immediately formulate a factual and legal strategy that will be implemented throughout the lawsuit. Working with the client, investigators, scientists and other forensic experts allows the Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP response team to gain tactical advantages and neutralize the head start usually gained by opposing subrogation counsel.

Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP has strong relationships with the most talented expert witnesses in the fire and explosion field. Such relationships are key: the outcome of the investigation and trial are heavily dependent upon the special technical talents of expert witnesses. Consequently, these expert choices are critical in developing a successful defense. Other firms without the experience of Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP frequently make mistakes in either retaining consultants without adequate experience or talent or, conversely, over-staff a case with expensive experts that add little value to the case.

Most importantly, Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP has real jury trial experience. The firm has taken hundreds of cases to verdict in a wide variety of substantive areas including catastrophic fires and explosions. Lawyers for the firm have tried cases in almost every state in the country in both federal and state court. The firm is dedicated to the trial of civil litigation.


February 12, 2024
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Exhibits at ASA Chicago's Annual Construction Expo & Safety Conference
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP is thrilled to exhibit at the 2024 Construction Expo & Safety Conference, co-hosted by ASA Chicago – Association of Subcontractors & Affiliates and the Construction Safety Council, on March 5 in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois.

July 10, 2023
Henne to Speak at 2023 DRI Fire Science and Litigation Seminar
Partner Brett M. Henne will present "A Fire Investigator's Perspective on Defending Fire Claims and Cross-Examining Witnesses," at DRI's 2023 Fire Science and Litigation Seminar on August 16-18 in Washington, D.C.

April 03, 2023
Monaco and Henne to Present at 2023 AEM Product Safety & Compliance and Product Liability Seminar
Partners Anthony J. Monaco and Brett M. Henne will present at the 2023 Product Safety & Compliance and Product Liability Seminar, hosted by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), on April 24-27 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Chicago, May 21, 2021
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Obtains Defense Verdict In High-Stakes In-Person Jury Trial
In one of the first in-person civil litigation jury trials in Lake County since the COVID-19 pandemic, the plaintiff asked the jury for nearly $15 million in lost wages, past and future pain and suffering and disfigurement.

Chicago, February 2, 2021
Illinois Super Lawyers Recognizes 25 Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Attorneys
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP announces that 12 attorneys have been named n to the 2021 Illinois Super Lawyers list and 13 have been named to the Illinois Rising Stars list.

Chicago, Lisle, Libertyville, Madison County, January 11, 2021
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Attorneys Named Leading Lawyers, Emerging Lawyers for 2021
Those designated Leading Lawyers were recommended by their peers to be among the top lawyers in Illinois.

Chicago, September 24, 2019
Fire and Explosion Litigation Practice Group Welcomes Speaker on Electrical Forensics
Derek Starr, P.E. of SEA Limited offered background to help attorneys understand and communicate electrical concepts commonly encountered in cases resulting in litigation, such as fires, electrical shocks and electrocutions.

Chicago, Libertyville, March 2, 2017
Henne, Firm Attorneys Speak at Fire Investigation Task Force Presentation
Over 100 people listened to the four attorneys present on Fire Investigations in Today's Environment.

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Chicago, January 12, 2016
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Names New Partners
Clyder and Haddox practice in Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP’s Chicago office, while Henne practices in the firm’s Libertyville office.

Chicago, Libertyville, May 18, 2015
Henne, Firm Attorneys Speak at Fire Investigators Strike Force Presentation
Five Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP attorneys spoke on "The Independent Private Investigation and Complex Litigation,"

Chicago, July 9, 2013
Seven Lateral Attorneys Join Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP
Four partners and three associates have recently joined the firm's Chicago office.

Chicago, January 23, 2012
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Names New Partners
The firm's new partners focus on a variety of practice areas.

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