UPDATE: 8 survivors of Mayfield candle factory collapse file ennlarged lawsuit against company

36-page lawsuit filed on March 3, 2022 in Graves Circuit Court

UPDATE (3/4/22) – Eight survivors of December’s candle-factory collapse in Mayfield, following a tornado, have filed a Verified Class Action Civil Complaint.

“Further investigation has revealed the depth of the liability and willful acts that caused these harms,” said Attorney Amos Jones. “Fifty hours of interviews and research compelled seven more victims to step up as Class Representatives on behalf of the more than 100 employees trapped that Friday night in their workplace, and they have sworn under oath to the truthfulness of their claims on the Complaint itself.”

Amos Jones Law Firm released a full color copy of lawsuit Friday afternoon. Paragraph 33 states that one survivor, John Lawson, spoke up that night:

John Lawson had just relocated to Mayfield from Reno, Nevada, in order to be closer to his grandchildren. He had worked at the factory in quality control for one week prior to December 10, 2021. After supervisors barred employees from leaving, he voiced concerns that workers should be allowed to leave and noted that if this severe weather event were forecast in Nevada, the company would have shut down simply to avoid liability in the event of a mass casualty event. In response, female supervisor Jennifer J. laughed and said, “Welcome to Kentucky.” According to GPS on a device belonging to Mr. Lawson, he still would have had 13 minutes after her comment to get clear of the path of the tornado and before the factory was twisted and smashed with all 110 employees on duty affected. The destruction caused by the tornado buried Mr. Lawson in rubble. It took three to four hours for emergency personnel and others to dig him out as he lay adjacent to a deceased victim.

The Complaint specifies pages of allegations in sections of facts with categorical headings including:
“MCP did not train these named plaintiffs in emergency safety protocols and only had one hallway, one men’s restroom, and one women’s restroom for its 110 employees to shelter in during the tornado and no indoor emergency alarm system.”

Attorney William Davis, a civil litigator in Lexington and Frankfort, reiterated his December statement about the nature of the survivors’ legal claims. “Management at that factory caused, oversaw, and facilitated a shirking of decency with regard to duties of care, and faithful employees are now injured or dead, two weekends before Christmas,” Davis said at the outset.

The Louisville personal-injury law firm is now on the case, with contributions from counsel William Nefzger and Jones in the weeks since the original complaint was filed, according to Jones.

You can view the lawsuit HERE: Stamped VERIFIED MAYFIELD CANDLE FACTORY LAWSUIT filed 3.3.22

ORIGINAL STORY (12/16/21)

MAYFIELD, Ky. (WTVQ) – A class-action lawsuit has been filed against a candle factory in Mayfield that was destroyed by a tornado last Friday, killing eight people.

According to the Amos Jones Law Firm, the suit was filed against Mayfield Consumer Products, LLC, on behalf of candle factory employee Elijah Johnson, of Mayfield, and several of his co-workers.

The 20-year old Johnson is a production line worker who has worked at the factory eight months.  He says he became trapped under a piece of rubble after the tornado hit.  He says he was hurt, but did not need to be hospitalized.

According to the suit, which was filed in Graves Circuit Court Wednesday, the company violated the Kentucky OSH law by failing to provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards, including tornadoes, and comply with the occupational safety and health regulations, standards, and rules pursuant to KRS Chapter 338.

The suit alleges Elijah Johnson, along with 109 other employees, continued to work even though the company knew or should have known about the expected tornado and the danger of serious bodily injuries and death to its employees if its employees were required to remain at its place of business during the pendency of the expected tornado.

The suit goes on to say the company had up to three and a half hours before the tornado hit the factory to allow its employees to leave its worksite as safety precautions.  Thus, the company showed flagrant indifference to the rights of Johnson and the other employees with a subjective awareness that such conduct will result in human death and/or bodily injuries, according to the lawsuit.

The suit also claims the company threatened to terminate any employee who left because of the expected tornado in the hours before the tornado actually hit the factory.  The company denied that claim in media reports after some employees, including Elijah Johnson, went public with the allegation earlier this week.

The suit asks for compensatory and punitive damages, but no specific amounts were given.  The suit also requests a jury trial.

 

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