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CHICAGO � While it might seem natural to expect personal injury lawsuits in the wake of an overheated Chicago Marathon that may have contributed to one death and several heat-related injuries, it’s too early to know whether the facts would support such cases, lawyers in the city said. The Oct. 7 marathon was called off for the first time in its 30-year history with runners who hadn’t reached the halfway point by noon being diverted and told the race course was closed. About 315 runners were taken by ambulance with heat-related conditions from the course. Some runners complained of a lack of water or workers to distribute it along the 26-mile course, but the race sponsors disputed the claims about too little water, according to local reports. “Each year, when you have 35,000 runners, you’re going to have some dehydration,” said Ted McNabola, a personal injury attorney at Cogan & McNabola in Chicago. “I don’t know how much of an anomaly this year was.” A record 45,000 people registered for the race, which was sponsored by Bank of America Corp.’s LaSalle Bank Corp. But local reports said only about 35,000 ran on a day that was forecast to be unseasonably warm with temperatures reaching into the 80-degree range. Ultimately, the temperature climbed to 87 degrees even in partly cloudy weather, a record high for the date. ‘Very fact intensive’ Chad Schieber, a 35-year-old police officer from Midland, Mich., collapsed at about noon, at the 19th mile and was pronounced dead when he arrived at an area hospital, reports said. An autopsy of his body was scheduled for Oct. 8. “A potential case like this is very fact intensive,” said Tom Demetrio, an attorney in Chicago with Corboy & Demetrio. “Even if the autopsy today shows that a presumably 35-year-old, healthy man suffered his death due in part to severe dehydration, you still have to connect up that up to LaSalle . . . .There’s just too little known right now.” Both attorneys said it could ultimately be discovered that Schieber had a pre-existing heart condition that predisposed him to such a collapse. On the other hand, if he had to wait an hour for an ambulance, that might be another matter, McNabola said. As for those runners who claim that a lack of water led to significant injury or health care bills, facts to be taken into account would include any waivers that were signed before the race and the number of people who didn’t show up for the race, possibly because of the forecast heat, the lawyers said. Organizers of the marathon didn’t return calls and an e-mail seeking comment. Federal and state courts were closed Monday for the Columbus Day holiday.

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