Client Stories: Grossman Law Office Takes on Pilgrim’s Pride in Wrongful Death Case

Michael GrossmanJuly 01, 2015 2 minutes

Grossman Law Office was able to help the family of a deceased employee gain closure after we represented them in arbitration against Pilgrim's Pride.

The accident happened as Jimmy B. was working at the Pilgrim's Pride processing plant and was run over by an 18 wheeler that was backing up into a loading dock at a high rate of speed. When Mr. B's family went to Pilgrim's Pride in order to seek compensation, they were unhappy with how the company handled the situation. They were curtly informed that the deceased had signed a binding arbitration agreement, and that the max amount of compensation they could receive was $250,000. Pilgrim's Pride made it clear that they would pay the $250,000 (and only that amount), but the family felt like this was a grave injustice considering the horrific way in which Jimmie lost his life.

Luckily, the family contacted our attorneys, and we launched an investigation. We obtained an employee manual, and in it we discovered that the family did indeed have to go to arbitration according to the agreement that Jimmy signed before his death, but that the $250,000 "maximum compensation" was not binding. As it turned out, that was really a voluntary payment, which the company would make per their agreement with all of their employees, but it included no acknowledgment of fault and required a waiver of liability. After finding the truth about the documents that were supposed to bind the family to such an unfair and unjust resolution, we filed suit in arbitration, and the case was under way.

Initially, the company firmly held to the position that Jimmy was at fault because he was walking where he should not have been, which was ridiculous, and we knew that we would have to bludgeon them with evidence of their own misconduct before they would accept fault. The litigation went on for roughly two years, and during that time we conducted an onsite investigation and uncovered a lot of interesting facts that helped us win our case:

  • The individual driving the 18 wheeler was unlicensed to drive the vehicle
  • The mirrors on the 18 wheeler were not properly adjusted
  • The loading dock space in which the truck had to fit through rendered rear-view mirrors ineffective
  • The beeping noise that activates when the truck is in reverse was located on the cab of the truck, not the trailer, making it virtually impossible to hear when behind the trailer
  • The ambient noise of the factory was louder than the beeping noise coming from the truck, so an employee would not have been able to hear it
  • Lastly, the drainage system on the loading dock contained a dip in the road right outside the bay doors, so the drivers would have to fly into the interior of the factory in reverse to keep from getting stuck in the dip

Having presented this damning evidence against Pilgrim's Pride, we were ultimately able to obtain an award of $2,500,000.00 in arbitration.