Family of construction worker killed on Texas A&M job site awarded $54M
- A Texas jury has awarded approximately $54 million to the family of a construction worker killed during the $450 million 2013 renovation of Texas A&M’s Kyle Field, according to the Houston Chronicle. Angel Garcia, 28, was killed during concrete demolition operations.
- In a unanimous verdict, the jury found general contractor Manhattan-Vaughn 75% responsible for the accident and Lindamood Demolition, Garcia’s employer, 25% responsible.
- Garcia was using a Caterpillar loader to catch concrete being removed from the stadium when a 3,340-pound piece of debris caused the loader to tip, throwing him from the loader and resulting in his four-story fall to the ground below, the Chronicle reported.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also cited Lindamood and another contractor on the project, Texas Cutting & Coring, following their investigation into Garcia's death and fined the two companies a total of $130,000. The agency did not cite Manhattan-Vaughn.
"These experienced contractors failed to provide employees with safe demolition procedures, despite concerns from workers," OSHA official Casey Perkins said at the time the investigation was concluded. "This disregard for worker safety is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
The family's lawyer said he expects the construction companies will appeal the verdict.
In August of last year, another major stadium construction project saw a fatal incident, when a roofer fell 50 feet to his death and another was injured at the site of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium. A Minnesota OSHA report said the workers "fell and slid down the roof," and one of them struck a post. The other broke through the roof's guardrail and fell to a lower platform. The roofing company resumed work a month after the incident, but said it was still working with investigators to determine the cause of the incident.
The construction industry has kept a close eye on OSHA's recent moves, as in August of this year, violators could see their fines increase 80% or more when the agency raises its fine levels to fall into line with the Consumer Price Index — the first increase since 1990. However, this Texas case demonstrates that lawsuits are also possible consequences of job site safety violations.