Video Created and Distributed Through Partnership Between Simmons Hanly Conroy, Attorney Tom Long, Victims’ Families and SIUE University Housing, Residence Life Media and Switch
Five years after an off-campus apartment fire killed Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) students Lauren Petersen and Lacy Siddall, a first-of-its-kind fire safety video that was created last April to honor the students and help prevent similar tragedies has been viewed by more than 20,000 students on college campuses nationwide.
Simmons Hanly Conroy, which represented the Petersen family in a lawsuit against an insurance company, and attorney Tom Long, who represented the Siddall family, helped produce and fund the video. The Petersen and Siddall families also used a portion of their settlements with the insurance company to help fund the project.
“The deaths of Lauren and Lacy were tragedies, and this video has in a way provided a form of healing by hopefully warning other college students, their parents and landlords about the risks of fire in both on- and off-campus housing,” said Ted N. Gianaris, the Simmons Hanly Conroy shareholder who oversaw the wrongful death lawsuit.
Simmons Hanly Conroy, the attorneys and the girls’ families partnered with SIUE University Housing, Residence Life Cinema and Switch to produce the video, which has been distributed to more than 200 universities and colleges nationwide via Residence Life Cinema, a division of Swank Motion Pictures. The video, which features the girls’ mutual friend Taylor Scott talking about how much she misses them, underscores the dangers of campus fires by capturing slow-motion footage shot at 2,000 frames per second using the Phantom Flex4K camera. The video also includes footage from the aftermath of the fire that claimed the girls’ lives.
The lawsuit on behalf of the deceased SIUE students’ families focused on improperly placed smoke and fire alarms. Investigation during litigation ruled out the initial theory the fire was caused by a laptop. The families and their attorneys believe hard fought lawsuits can result in making children and families safer by educating them about fire safety and encouraging schools and off-campus student housing facilities to upgrade and maintain their fire protection systems.
Colleges and affiliated organizations such as fraternities and sororities interested in using the video as part of their programming for students can email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
From 2000 to 2014, approximately 126 students have perished from fires that occurred on a college campus, in Greek housing or in off-campus housing within three miles of campus, according to the Center for Campus Fire Safety (The Center), a non-profit organization devoted to reducing the loss of life from fire at college campuses. More than 85 percent of the fatal fires during that time occurred in off-campus housing.
“It is extremely gratifying that our law firm, along with Thomas Long and the families of Lauren and Lacy could come together on this important project that we hope is making a significant impact by helping to save lives,” Gianaris said.
About Simmons Hanly Conroy, LLC
Simmons Hanly Conroy is one of the nation’s largest mass tort law firms. Primary areas of litigation include asbestos and mesothelioma, pharmaceutical, consumer protection, environmental and personal injury. The firm’s attorneys have been appointed to leadership in numerous national multidistrict litigations, including Vioxx, Yaz, Toyota Unintended Acceleration and DePuy Pinnacle. The firm also represents small and mid-size corporations, inventors and entrepreneurs in matters involving business litigation. Offices are located in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Alton, Ill. Read more at www.simmonsfirm.com.
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