Mon. May 23rd, 2022

McEwen’s parents claim that the e-commerce giant, as well as a construction company and property developer affiliated with the facility, which suffered significant structural damage after being hit by an EC-3 tornado on December 10, 2021, failed to exercise reasonable care. to protect workers like their son from incurring injuries or death.

McEwen, 26, who worked as an independent contractor, delivered to Amazon (AMZN), sought refuge in a bathroom at the facility, according to a copy of the lawsuit provided by Clifford Law Offices, which represents McEwens.

During the press conference held over Zoom, Alice McEwen, Austin’s mother and the administrator of his property, said that Amazon chose not to evacuate workers from the facility in a timely manner as it tried to keep them from fulfilling orders.

“It seems that Amazon placed profit first in this holiday season instead of the safety of our son and the other five families who lost their loved ones,” she said.

The family of Austin McEwen, a 26-year-old independent entrepreneur from Amazon who was killed at one of the company's facilities in Edwardsville, Illinois, during a tornado in December 2021, will sue the company for wrongful death.  Alice McEwen, his mother, can be seen with him in this undated picture.

In a statement to CNN Business Monday, Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said the company will defend itself against the lawsuit, adding that Amazon’s focus remains on supporting our employees and partners, the families who lost loved ones, the surrounding community and all those affected by the tornadoes. ”

Six people killed in Amazon's warehouse in Illinois collapsed after tornado

Nantel said that “the trial misunderstands key facts, such as the difference between different types of severe weather and tornado alarms, as well as the condition and safety of the building.” She also noted that while clocks with severe weather are common in the area, it is not typical for companies to shut down operations in anticipation of severe storms.

Asked if any workers like McEwen were asked to seek shelter in a bathroom, Amazon declined to comment beyond its statement.

The Labor Inspectorate opened an investigation into the collapse of the Edwardsville plant last month. OSHA, the federal agency that investigates safety incidents in the workplace, has six months to complete the investigation.

Jack Casciato, a partner at Clifford Law Offices, told CNN Business on Monday: “Even as early as December 9, it was very clear that this area of ​​southwestern Illinois could be in danger of a tornado, and the warning intensified during the day.”

“The question Amazon will have to answer is, ‘Why were these workers present at this facility?'” Casciato said.

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