Seeking Justice for Matthew Heiden: A Call for Accountability

Open manhole cover with a traffic cone in front of it

Cooney & Conway has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Estate of Matthew Heiden, a Westmont Public Works employee, who died of drowning while attempting to repair a water main break on February 23, 2023. 

The lawsuit was filed on November 22, 2023, in DuPage County Circuit Court, naming as Defendants, the Village of Westmont, which employed and directed Matthew Heiden into the water main vault; Stephen May, P.E., who previously served as the Director of Public Works for Village of Westmont and currently serves as the Village Manager for Village of Westmont; Intergovernmental Risk Management Agency; Muller Water Products; Mueller Co.; and M.E. Simpson Company, Inc. 

The lawsuit alleges the Village of Westmont knowingly and intentionally sent Matthew Heiden, the 20-year-old most junior full-time employee of the Water Department, into a dangerous confined space to work on a non-isolated, fully energized, water main valve, without the most basic plan, training, safety equipment, support or supervision. Several months before Matthew’s death, the Illinois Department of Labor/Illinois OSHA cited the Village of Westmont for violations of Illinois’s Health and Safety laws – the same laws that would be violated again in February 2023 leading to Matthew’s death.

Laurie Heiden, an Independent Administrator of the Estate of Matthew Heiden, is represented by Cooney & Conway Attorney Michael T. Egan.

“Matthew Heiden tragically drowned in a valve vault (manhole). His employer and other defendants failed to train Matthew for the work they assigned him; nor did the defendants provide any safety precautions, required by law, to prevent this injury from happening,” Egan said.

“The Heiden family is devastated by the loss of 20-year-old Matthew. Matthew deserved better and his bereaved family deserves justice,” Egan added.

Case No. 2023LA001266, Laurie Heiden, as Independent Administrator of the Estate of Matthew Heiden, Deceased v. Village of Westmont; Stephen May, P.E.; Intergovernmental Risk Management Agency; Mueller Water Products, Inc.; Mueller Co., and M.E. Simpson Company, Inc., filed in DuPage County Circuit Court on 11/22/2023.