The mother of a 16-year-old boy who lost his life in a poultry plant accident in 2023 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Mar-Jac Poultry and Onin Staffing.
Edilma Perez Ramirez, along with other wrongful death beneficiaries of her son, Duvan Robert Tomas Perez, filed the suit earlier this month in the Circuit Court of Forrest County, Mississippi.
The incident occurred on July 14, 2023, when Perez was engaged in a deep cleaning task in the deboning area of the Mar-Jac Poultry plant in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Tragically, while sanitizing a machine that was still operational, Perez got entangled in the rotating shaft, resulting in fatal injuries.
“The last moments of his life were absolutely horrific,” said Attorney Seth Hunter. The family “has not been coping very well. They have suffered because of the loss of their young son. He was, you know, he loved his family. He wanted to give back to his family and the community. It’s been very difficult for them.”
Mar-Jac Poultry stated that they did not hire Perez directly but that he was employed through a staffing company, later identified as Onin Staffing.
Although the exact amount of damages sought by Perez’s survivors was not specified in court documents, they include medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, loss of future earnings, emotional distress, and other related damages. A jury trial has been requested by the plaintiffs.
Mar-Jac Poultry has been the focus of other safety concerns. In mid-January, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Mar-Jac Poultry for numerous violations, with fines totaling $212,646.
“Mar-Jac Poultry is aware of how dangerous the machinery they use can be when safety standards are not in place to prevent serious injury and death,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer. “The company’s inaction has directly led to this terrible tragedy, which has left so many to mourn this child’s preventable death.”
This marks the third fatality at the Hattiesburg plant in recent years, as highlighted in the lawsuit, following the deaths of Joel Velasco Toto in 2020 and Bobby Butler in 2021.
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Author: Heidi Crnkovic