Law Firm Files Lawsuit Against NASCAR and Chicago Park District for Worker’s Death During 2023 Chicago Street Races

May 17, 2024

Clifford Law Offices filed a lawsuit against NASCAR, various construction companies involved in the 2023 Chicago street races, and the Chicago Park District on behalf of an electrician who died during construction of the 2023 summer event.

Kevin P. Durkin, partner at the firm, along with co-counsel Daniel L. Clayton of Nashville, Tennessee, filed the case in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago on behalf of the family of Duane Tabinski, 53, who was electrocuted June 30, 2023, as he worked to put together necessary audio components near Grant Park as part of the activities. Tabinski was retained by NASCAR as a contractor to work on the event’s race stage and racetrack, and to provide the speakers and microphones for the announcers and grandstands near Buckingham Fountain.

The complaint, filed on March 19, alleges that NASCAR, the Chicago Park District, and others in charge of the construction were negligent in their failing to take proper safety precautions to protect Tabinski. The lawsuit was filed by his widow, Kristin Tabinski. Duane, founder of his own audio company out of Nashville, Tennessee, also left behind two children.

“This was a horrible tragedy for the Tabinski family. What happened last summer in the course of the setting up of the NASCAR race in Chicago was entirely preventable and it cannot happen again,” Durkin said. “There was a terrible lapse in safety that led to the unfortunate death of Duane Tabinski.”

The lawsuit claims NASCAR failed to properly maintain a safe condition, failed to inspect the premises, and failed to comply with industry standards related to the event’s production. The lawsuit also names United Rentals, the company that provided the electrical equipment for the event; Four Lead Productions, an event services provider; Malo Communications Services, an electrical company; and McGuire Scenic, a set design company. The Chicago Park District is named for negligence by engaging in willful and wanton misconduct in its failure to ensure both Four Lead and NASCAR provide proper staging and production of the event.

Chicago is expected to hold a second NASCAR street race July 6-7, 2024, on what appears to be the same 2.2-mile course.

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