Family of man killed in January fall in Slaton sues cotton gin company
RSM Co. fined by OSHA for safety violations
Posted: September 23, 2016 - 7:36pm | Updated: September 24, 2016 - 12:11am
By GABRIEL MONTE
The family of a man who officials say fell to his death while working at a cotton gin in Slaton earlier this year is accusing the company owners of negligence, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed Thursday in the 99th District Court.
The lawsuit identifies Juan Perez Davila’s wife, Monica Santos Lopez, and their three children as plaintiffs who are seeking more than $1 million in damages against North Carolina-based RSM Co.
Davila died after a Jan. 6 fall from an air lock machine at the RSM Cotton Gin at 1320 E. Division St., according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration records. The company was fined in July for safety violations after an investigation by OSHA.
Crews from the Slaton Fire Department, police and emergency medical services responded to the accident just after 7 p.m. at the RSM Cotton Gin, said Slaton Fire Chief Freddie Rainwater.
Davila was working on jammed equipment on top of the facility when he fell. He was hospitalized at University Medical Center in Lubbock and died overnight.
OSHA investigators found two serious violations while investigating the company after Davila’s death and fined the company $6,300 for each offense on July 5. However, the fines were reduced to $3,780 each after an informal settlement, records show.
One of the violations was for failing to protect employees from fall hazards while working from an elevated catwalk about 15 feet above a lower level without a midrail.
Davila’s family’s lawsuit accuses the company of gross negligence. The allegations of negligence include failing to provide Davila proper equipment, a safe place to work and failing to adequately train him to do his job, the lawsuit states.
“Defendant was actually, subjectively aware of the risk involved, but nevertheless proceeded with conscious indifference to the rights, safety or welfare of others,” the lawsuit states.
Officials from the RSM Co. have repeatedly declined to comment to A-J Media.
1320 East Division Street
Slaton, TX 79339
- RSM Cotton Gin (mote processing plant)
- RSM Pickery (salvaging and reconditioning of fire- and water-damaged cotton)
- Available warehousing and commercial dry storage (with rail siding)