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COVID-19 in the Workplace

our firm is investigating cases of covid-19 that arose in plants & refineries

Factory & Plant COVID-19 Attorneys

Billions Won by Workplace Coronavirus Lawyers

The COVID-19 pandemic started in America in early March, and as of this writing in May, many people are still confined to their homes. While some parts of the country take tentative steps to reopen businesses and lift stay-at-home orders, there are small communities across the country still facing hundreds of coronavirus cases at once. These clusters are stretching medical resources thin, robbing people of the care they need to get better.

Many of these small communities have something in common: they are home to a factory or plant that had a known coronavirus case and didn’t inform their employees or their community at large. The spread of infection in factories and plants makes sense: factory work of all kinds requires a great deal of close proximity. Workers stand near each other for hours at a time, breathing in the same air and sharing the same spaces.

Plants and factories with known coronavirus cases include:

  • JBS meatpacking plant in Colorado (6 dead, 245 infected)
  • Tyson Foods plant in Indiana (890 infected)
  • JBS meatpacking plant in Minnesota (239 infected)
  • Fiat Chrysler plant in Indiana (1 confirmed, unknown infected)
  • Jennie-O plant in Minnesota (infected not disclosed)
  • Smithfield Foods plant in South Dakota (644 infected at plant closure)
  • Tyson Foods plant in Texas (69 infected)
  • Cargill plants in Virginia (infected not disclosed)

Read more about the Tyson Foods coronavirus cases on our blog.

How bad are COVID-19 cases in meatpacking plants?

According to one industry watchdog, over 7,000 meatpacking workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in the United States as of May 4, 2020. In some instances, meat processing facilities have had more than 40% of their workforce test positive for COVID-19 and have been attributed as the source for over a thousand local cases. In fact, in Black Hawk County, Iowa, one Tyson Foods plant accounts for 90% of the area's COVID-19 cases.

Meat plants promote COVID-19 spreading because of the following:

  • Employees work in in close proximity to each other
  • Many meatpacking companies do not offer paid sick leave
  • Workers typically share surfaces and equipment
  • Employers fail to consider language barriers when posting safety rules
  • Employers don't provide the possibility for adequate social distancing practices in the workplace

Now, as plants follow orders from the Trump administration to reopen, workers are fearful that they will be subject to a second wave of outbreaks at their workplace. Some plants not only failed to protect their workers, they neglected to inform them of how many of their coworkers had tested positive for the virus. In some instances, a $500 bonus was offered to workers who didn't take a sick day for the month of April. The Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the plant that offered this bonus, would later become one of the largest clusters of COVID-19 cases in the United States.

Texas Meatpacking Plant COVID-19 Outbreaks

In Texas, workers in meatpacking plants are finding themselves fearing for their lives as they go into work. In the early weeks of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, workers noticed that many of their colleagues were getting sick. Workers report that they weren't being informed by management of their exposure to COVID-19. As plants reopen their doors, workers don't feel that they have a good reason to trust the leadership that has already placed their health at risk at least once during this pandemic.

Currently, the state's worst COVID-19 clusters involve meatpacking facilities. Counties near Amarillo have COVID-19 rates that are 13 times higher than the rest of the state. In the small town of Cactus, at least 243 people have tested positive for the virus, a problem that's been traced back to the local JBS meatpacking plant. Health officials in Amarillo have confirmed that at least 1,000 cases in nearby counties have been linked to meat processing plants.

Holding Company Owners Responsible for COVID-19 Cases in Factories & Plants

The problem is that many of these employers didn’t act quickly enough to shut down their operations or enact proper safety protocols to contain COVID-19 cases. As a result, hundreds of people at a single plant were all infected. Some have died from COVID-19 since then, and many of the infected workers inadvertently exposed their spouses, parents, friends, and vulnerable loved ones. In at least one factory’s case, workers found out about cases through Facebook.

“Word of mouth was that we have maybe ten or more cases up there, but us employees were only told about two cases. We found out about three cases through Facebook.” —Kita Davis, employee at a meat processing plant in Virginia

Arnold & Itkin LLP is investigating employers on behalf of workers who fell ill because they weren’t informed of the danger they were exposed to. Employers like Tyson Foods or Smithfield stayed open, even when they knew they had a confirmed COVID-19 case on their hands. Rather than care for their workers or the community at large, they stayed open. As a result, dozens more were made sick that otherwise might have been able to stay healthy.

Speak with Plant & Refinery COVID-19 Lawyers Today

In the last few years alone, our workplace coronavirus lawyers have won billions in recovery for our clients. We’ve helped individuals and their families pay for medical care, recoup lost wages, and provide for their basic needs by holding negligent employers accountable. Our vast resources and commitment to getting our clients what they need—no matter what—has led to us getting some of the largest settlements and verdicts nationwide.

Our results include the:

  • Largest settlement for an individual burned at work site in United States history.
  • Largest settlement for a man killed offshore in United States history.
  • Largest settlement for families injured in a plant explosion in United States history.
  • Largest settlement for an undocumented worker in United States history.
  • Largest jury verdict for a single amputee in United States.
  • Largest settlement for worker injured in Texas oilfield.
  • Largest jury verdicts in multiple states throughout the country.

One of our most notable victories included an $8 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson, one of the largest companies in the world. That verdict is considered by legal historians to be the third largest verdict in United States history. In other words, if you want a proven law firm that knows how to get results, call us. Our team is happy to speak with you about your claim and discuss your options.

Call (888) 493-1629 to discuss your case for free with our attorneys. We take no fee unless we win, so there’s no risk to calling.

Case Results

Check Out Our Victories

  • $8 Billion Top 3 Largest Jury Verdict in U.S. History Arnold & Itkin LLP tried a Risperdal case against Johnson & Johnson for failing to warn about one of the drug’s most damaging side effects: gynecomastia. Our skill, hard work, and dedication resulted in the third-largest jury verdict ever obtained ...
  • $357 Million Largest Workplace Accident Settlement in Texas history Arnold & Itkin LLP secured a massive nine-figure settlement against a transnational corporation for a workplace incident. The settlement set a Texas record for being the largest personal injury settlement in the state’s history.
  • $205 Million Confidential Settlement Obtained for Numerous Clients Arnold & Itkin reached a record $205,000,000 settlement on behalf of clients after several years of hard-fought litigation. The case settled just before trial was set to begin.
  • $171 Million One of the Largest Confidential Settlements in History Arnold & Itkin worked over the course of several years to represent clients in a case that many other law firms turned down. In the end, we were able to obtain a record-setting confidential settlement of $171 million.
  • $117 Million Largest Single-Event Personal Injury Verdict in Louisiana History Arnold & Itkin represented a pregnant woman who experienced stomach pain and called Acadian Ambulance. The driver of the ambulance drove the ambulance into the back of a sugar cane truck causing the plaintiff's spine to be severed at T4 and for her ...
  • $116 Million Confidential Settlement Arnold & Itkin LLP negotiated a massive nine figure settlement on behalf of their clients after several years of hard fought litigation.
  • $110 Million Record Settlement Achieved for Victims of Defective Products Arnold & Itkin obtained a record settlement for individuals harmed by defective, dangerous products. The result exemplifies our commitment to clients and justice for those seriously injured by the conduct of others.
  • $105 Million Record Settlement for Dangerous Product Victims Arnold & Itkin’s legal team helped represent those harmed by dangerous products. We were successful in recovering a $105 million settlement.
  • $97 Million Massive Settlement Secured for Refinery Workers Arnold & Itkin is proud to share that after months of preparation for trial, our firm was able to secure a huge settlement for clients who were injured in a refinery fire. Find out more now.
  • $92.7 Million Record Settlement for Burn Injury Victim Arnold & Itkin LLP secured a substantial settlement for a man who suffered severe burns in an accident at his job. The settlement set a new record statewide for workers with similar injuries.
See All Results

I’d recommend them for anybody else because it’s more of a family-oriented deal.

Matthew Work Accident Victim

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