Personal Injury Lawyer
Food industry giant Tyson Foods is now facing a federal wrongful death claim stemming from the death of one of its worker from COVID-19, as reported by the Motley Fool (https://www.fool.com/investing/2020/05/28/tyson-foods-was-slapped-with-a-federal-wrongful-de.aspx).
The lawsuit against Tyson is not a complete shock, as this pandemic has hit the US meatpacking industry rather hard. Dozens of meatpacking workers have died from COVID-19 so far, largely due to unsanitary working conditions, cramped worked quarters and precautionary measures not being implemented early enough. The US meat industry in general has been receiving a lot of criticism in the mainstream media for failing to move fast enough to protect its workers.
A recent industry update from the Food & Environment Reporting Network stated that at least 72 people in the food industry have died in the line of work, including six food-processing employees and 66 meatpacking employees.
In the recently-filed wrongful death claim, representatives of the victim’s family allege Tyson was negligent in the death of Pwar Gay, a meat cutter who worked at the company’s Amarillo, Texas plant. According to court documents, Gay fell while working and injured her knee. She was then treated at the company’s clinic for basic triage. Right after her treatment, she returned to work. Later, she became ill and experienced difficulty breathing, leading to her admission and death at a local hospital on May 8. She tested positive for COVID-19 at the hospital.
Her family’s claim contends that Tyson did not provide Gay or other employees with the necessary personal protective equipment to stay safe from COVID-19.
While this is the first lawsuit of this nature, it could be a warning of what is to come for the food giant. More than 4,000 workers at Tyson Foods tested positive for the disease, and 18 in total have now died from related complications after exposure at Tyson plants. More and more outbreaks are occurring at this company’s plants. For example, in Iowa, 25 percent of Tyson’s staff tested positive for COVID-19 at its Storm Lake facility, reports Newsweek (https://www.newsweek.com/25-percent-staff-test-positive-coronavirus-iowa-tyson-foods-plant-production-resuming-wednesday-1508218). That pork processing plant has 2,303 workers, and 591 of them contracted the disease.
Many industry critics and public health experts have said Tyson bears some sort of accountability because they failed to provide actionable plans for workers early on in the pandemic. Since meat plants received a mandate from the federal government to keep operating in order to avoid a wide-scale meat shortage nationwide, some have argued the protection of meat workers should have been an issue of national importance.
If you have lost a loved one because of something another party did or did not do, you can take steps to hold that party accountable by filing a wrongful death claim. Contact an experienced wrongful death attorney, like a wrongful death lawyer from Richard J. Banta, P.C., to discuss your case and your options as soon as possible. There is a deadline to file a wrongful death claim, and this clock starts after your loved one’s death. If you wait too long to act, you could lose the right to recover any damages.