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A false claim about a tornado on Amazon

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (KTVI) – Attorneys on Monday filed a false claim in Madison County, Illinois against Amazon and two other companies on behalf of the Austin McEwen family. The delivery driver was killed on December 10, 2021, when a tornado hit the Amazon fulfillment center where he was working.

The tornado, with estimated strongest winds of 155 mph, tore off the roof of the facility just after 8:30 p.m. and caused the building to collapse on its own. McEwen is one in six people died.

The other five victims were 28-year-old Deandre S. Morrow of St. Louis; Kevin D. Dickey, 62 years old of Carlyle, Illinois; 29-year-old Clayton Lynn Cope of Alton, Illinois; Etheria S. Hebb of St. Louis, 34 years old; and 46 years old Larry E. Virden of Collinsville, Illinois.

Forty-five Amazon workers were able to get out of the warehouse safely, with one being airlifted to a hospital for treatment.

The lawsuit alleges Amazon forced McEwen and others to work when management learned that conditions were unsafe after a tornado warning was issued. McEwen was also ordered to continue working instead of evacuating when the possibility of a severe tornado was clear, the lawsuit alleges.

“We spent the last month reading articles about how Amazon knew a tornado was coming, but decided to let our son and others work during peak delivery season for Amazon,” said Alice. instead of evacuating from an area where there is no shelter.” McEwen, Austin’s mother.

McEwen doesn’t work for Amazon but is a contract delivery driver who worked with the company to make deliveries from its Edwardsville warehouse.

After the tornado, Amazon officials said there was a designated shelter in the warehouse where workers could take shelter. Kelly Nantel, Amazon’s director of media relations, says it’s generally a windowless interior location. She said 39 people gathered in that area on the north side of the building. However, seven people, including McEwen, gathered in a bathroom on the south side of the facility.

Attorneys for the McEwen family insist the facility has no basement shelter and does not have an adequate emergency plan required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Attorneys have also questioned whether the building was built for encryption, an issue the company faced directly in a statement Monday morning.

“This lawsuit misinterprets key facts, such as the difference between severe weather and tornado warnings, and the condition and safety of the building. The truth is this is a new building less than four years old, built in compliance with all applicable building codes, and local teams are closely monitoring weather conditions,” Amazon’s Nantel said. know in a statement.

“Severe weather watches are common in this part of the country and, while precautions are taken, are not the cause of most businesses closing. We believe our team did the right thing as soon as the warning was issued and they worked to move everyone to safety as quickly as possible. We will defend against this lawsuit, but our focus continues to be on supporting our employees and partners, the bereaved families, the surrounding community and all those affected. by tornado. ”

The law office of Clifford, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the McEwen family, also alleges Amazon failed to take extra precautions against extreme weather, including training employees on what to do in an emergency and systematically alarm system.

“It was known as early as December 9, 2021, that the area was at risk of severe weather,” said Attorney Jack Casciato, Clifford Law Office. “Tornados is documented as possible and Amazon did nothing to warn these employees.”

The suit also names the facility builder, Contegra Construction, and the website developer, TriStar Properties, LLC. Messages seeking comment from the companies were not immediately returned on Monday.

The lawsuit was filed electronically Monday in Madison County Court.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has opened an investigation into the building collapse, which is expected to take six months to complete.

https://www.westernslopenow.com/news/wrongful-death-lawsuit-filed-over-tornado-at-amazon-site/ A false claim about a tornado on Amazon

Emma Bowman

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