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Wrongful Death Action Commenced in PA Against World’s Largest Beef Processing Company (PA)

May 15, 2020

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<p style="text-align: justify;">On May 7, 2020, the Estate of Enock Benjamin commenced an action in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas against JBS USA Food Company, one of the world’s largest beef processing companies. It is alleged that Enock Benjamin, an employee of JBS, died of respiratory failure caused by the COVID-19 virus. It is further alleged that JBS ignored federal guidance and “put plant workers in the crosshairs of a global pandemic.” Additionally, it is alleged that JBS, <em>inter alia</em>, failed to provide sufficient personal protective equipment, required workers to work in crowded work area, discouraged employees from taking sick leave, and failed to provide proper testing and monitoring for employees potentially exposed to COVID-19. The Estate brings causes of action for negligence, fraudulent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation, and wrongful death.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will likely see a rise in tort actions brought by employees against their employers for injuries and/or deaths caused by the virus. This is especially true for employers who allegedly failed to follow the guidelines enacted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As such, it is likely that insurance carriers will see a rise in third-party insurance claims brought by employers under their commercial general liability policies. However, given the novelty of this virus, it remains to be seen how courts will interpret popular policy exclusions, such as communicable disease exclusions and pollution exclusions.</p>
Thanks to Rachel Thompson for her contribution to this post. If you have any questions or comments, please contact <a href="">Colleen Hayes.</a>


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