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Coronavirus Meat Packing Plant Lawsuit

Coronavirus Meat Packing Plant Lawsuit

Deadly coronavirus outbreaks are becoming increasingly common at meat processing plants nationwide. Many companies are accused of failing to provide masks, social distancing, or paid leave for sick employees.

What You Can Do & How We Can Help

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting coronavirus induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with COVID-19 after working at a meat packing plant, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Disease Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

UPDATE: Tyson Hit With COVID-19 Death Lawsuit

In May 2020, the family of a meat-cutter who died of COVID-19 filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Tyson Foods. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Pwar G., a woman who worked at the Tyson plant in Amarillo, Texas.

Pwar also suffered a serious knee injury on the job, but continued working until her breathing difficulties, knee pain, and severe swelling made it impossible to continue. Tragically, after weeks of hospitalization, the combination of COVID-19 and her knee injury proved to be fatal. Tyson is accused of failing to provide workers with paid sick leave, adequate protective equipment, or social distancing to prevent outbreaks of COVID-19.

The lawsuit (PDF) was filed on May 15, 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Amarillo Division) — Case No. 2:20-cv-00125-Z.

COVID-19 Death Lawsuit Filed Against Texas Sausage Plant

The wife of a 36 year-old meat plant worker who died of coronavirus (COVID-19) filed a wrongful death lawsuit against his employer, Quality Sausage Co. in Dallas, Texas.

Trump Orders Meat Processing Plants to Stay Open

After 22 meat plants shut down in March and April 2020, President Donald Trump signed an executive order under the Defense Production Act to force meat processing facilities to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic, declaring them “critical infrastructure.” The order also gives companies protection from legal liability if workers get sick.

Meat Workers File 1st Lawsuits: “If You Die, They’ll Just Replace You Tomorrow”

The first coronavirus lawsuits against meat plants have been filed by workers who are unhappy with hazardous conditions. The workers say they are shoulder-to-shoulder, unable to wash their hands for hours, and forbidden from covering a sneeze or cough because they might miss a piece of meat coming down the line.

According to one man who tested positive for coronavirus: “Those people don’t care about us,” John said. “If you die, they’ll just replace you tomorrow”

What is the Problem?

Meat packing plants are a common “hotspot” for coronavirus outbreaks. The problem is that meat processing workers stand shoulder-to-shoulder on the line. They also congregate in crowded locker rooms, cafeterias, break rooms, and bathrooms.

Smithfield Pork Plant Shuts Down After Nearly 900 Infected With COVID-19

One of the largest COVID-19 hotspots in the U.S. is the Smithfield Foods pork slaughterhouse and processing facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with with nearly 900 confirmed cases and at least 2 deaths. Before the plant shut down, it accounted for 4-5% of total hog processing in the U.S.

Meat Packing Plants Closed Due to Coronavirus Outbreaks

A growing number of meat packing plants have shut down temporarily after coronavirus outbreaks, including:

  • Tyson Foods (pork processing) — Columbus Junction, Iowa
  • Tyson Foods (pork processing) — Waterloo, Iowa
  • Tyson Foods (poultry) — Camilla, Georgia
  • National Beef Packing Co. (beef processing) — Tama, Iowa
  • JBS USA (beef processing) — Greeley, Colorado
  • JBS USA (beef processing) — Souderton, Pennsylvania
  • JBS USA (pork processing) — Worthington, Minnesota
  • Smithfield Food (pork processing) — Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Smithfield Foods (dry sausage and bacon) — Cudahy, Wisconsin
  • Smithfield Foods (smoked and spiral-cut hams) — Martin City, Missouri
  • Cargill Inc. (pork and beef processing) — Hazleton, Pennsylvania
  • Hormel (pork products) — Rochelle, Illinois
  • And more

Deaths Reported At Growing Number of Meat Processing Plants

As of April 21, at least two Smithfield employees died from COVID-19 after an outbreak in Sioux Falls. In Georgia, four poultry workers died after a coronavirus outbreak at a Tyson Foods plant.

Deaths have been reported at Tyson Foods’ pork plant in Iowa, a Cargill meat processing plant in Colorado, a JBS meatpacking facility in Greeley, and a growing number of other meat processing facilities nationwide.

Other COVID-19 Outbreaks in Meat Packing Plants

On April 20, there was an outbreak of COVID-19 cases among workers at the JBS Packerland meat processing plant in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The beef production plant remains operating as an “essential business,” according to health officials.

On April 21, officials confirmed that 16 employees of the Prestage Foods of Iowa pork processing plant in Eagle Grove, Iowa, had tested positive for COVID-19. All of the cases were asymptomatic and the plant remained operational.

When Is a Shut-Down Necessary?

Meat processing plant shut-downs may be necessary in a variety of cases:

  • Too many workers fall ill to keep the plant running safely.
  • Preventing uncontrolled outbreaks by quarantining employees.
  • Employees are unwilling to return to work, especially if coworkers are dying or they lack protective gear.
  • Unions pressure companies to provide social distancing, masks, and financial compensation for employees who fall ill

As Coronavirus Outbreak Intensifies, Slaughterhouse Union Files Lawsuit Against Dangerous USDA Rule

As the coronavirus outbreak sweeps through the meat industry, a federal lawsuit has been filed to stop the USDA from eliminating line speed limits in pork slaughterhouses, which union officials say “will endanger the health and safety of tens of thousands of workers” and threaten food safety for the public.

Do I have a Coronavirus Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting coronavirus induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with COVID-19 after working at a meat packing plant, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Disease Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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