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Mom of Teen Killed at Miss. Poultry Manufacturing facility Sues Firm for Negligence



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(AP) — The mom of a 16-year-old who died in a office accident at a Mississippi poultry manufacturing facility is suing the businesses that employed and employed him, accusing them of failing to comply with security requirements that might have prevented his loss of life.

In courtroom papers filed on the Forest County Circuit Court docket final week, attorneys for Edilma Perez Ramirez stated Mar-Jac Poultry skirted security protections, resulting in the loss of life of her son Duvan Perez. The lawsuit follows a January report by the U.S. Division of Labor’s Occupational Security and Well being Administration that declared quite a few security violations associated to the loss of life of {the teenager}, who immigrated to Mississippi from Guatemala years in the past.


“Mar-Jac and its associates have a protracted and sordid historical past of willful disregard for employee security,” the lawsuit reads.

A Mar-Jac spokesperson didn’t reply to electronic mail and telephone messages Tuesday. In earlier statements, the corporate has stated it relied on a staffing company to rent employees and didn’t know Duvan was underage. Federal labor regulation bans the hiring of minors in a number of hazardous work websites, together with slaughterhouses and meatpacking crops.


In July, Duvan grew to become the third employee to die in lower than three years on the Hattiesburg, Mississippi, plant owned by Mar-Jac, a Georgia-based poultry manufacturing firm.

In 2020, 33-year-old Joel Velasco Toto died after a co-worker “inserted an air-compression hose into his rectum,” the lawsuit says. In 2021, 48-year-old Bobby Butler died after changing into entangled in a machine he was cleansing.


Office security officers launched an investigation into Duvan’s loss of life in July. OSHA investigators discovered that he was killed whereas performing a deep clear of a machine within the plant’s deboning space. He grew to become caught in a still-energized machine’s rotating shaft and was pulled in, officers stated.

The lawsuit says that Mar-Jac allowed Duvan to scrub the gear regardless of his age and alleged improper coaching.


Attorneys for Perez Ramirez additionally sued Onin Staffing, an Alabama-based firm that does enterprise in Mississippi. The staffing company assigned Duvan to work on the plant despite the fact that it knew he was a minor, the lawsuit says. After Duvan’s loss of life, Onin filed a discover with the state to keep away from paying employee’s compensation,the lawsuit claims.

Onin didn’t reply to emailed questions Tuesday.


Federal investigators stated that plant managers ought to have ensured that employees disconnected the machine’s energy and adopted steps to stop the machine from unintentionally beginning up once more throughout the cleansing. They cited Mar-Jac for office violations and proposed over $200,000 in penalties.

OSHA had issued not less than eight citations for security violations on the plant earlier than Duvan’s loss of life, the lawsuit says. These embody the deaths of Toto and Butler, three amputations and a hospitalization on account of a fall.


After the accident, Labor Division officers stated Duvan’s loss of life supplied a reminder that kids remain vulnerable to exploitation within the U.S. office.

In a written assertion, Seth Hunter, certainly one of Perez Ramirez’s attorneys, stated Mar-Jac’s prospects, together with Chick-fil-A, ought to insist on improved working circumstances or cease doing enterprise with the corporate.


Duvan “was hardworking and beloved his household,” Hunter stated. “One of many issues he was most pleased with was paying for his first automobile himself. It’s a tragedy that this younger life was taken when his loss of life was simply preventable.”

Picture: The Mar-Jac Poultry plant in Hattiesburg. (Lici Beveridge/Hattiesburg American by way of AP)


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