Family of Worker Killed by Falling Tower Files Lawsuit
The family of Steve Lemay, who ran a tower-repair company, has filed a lawsuit against Missouri State University after a 2,000-foot-tall TV tower collapsed, resulting in his death. The tower was owned by MSU and used for its Ozarks Public Television Station.
The family, who has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the University, says that MSU maintained the tower in poor condition which ultimately led to it falling down. The family will be seeking damages related to the loss of Lemay’s income, medical expenses, burial expenses, and pain and suffering, both their own and their loved one’s. The lawsuit also names a tower repair company that contracted Lemay to do the work.
OSHA Weighs in on the Matter
An OSHA investigation into the collapse cited the removal of several bolts during a bracing procedure as the ultimate cause of the tower’s collapse. The supports that were provided to Lemay and his crew didn’t fit the braces on the tower forcing Lemay to drill new holes for the bolts. Lemay and five of his workers were 100 ft. high when the tower collapsed. Lemay died but none of the other workers sustained life-threatening injuries.
Lawsuit Filed Under Theory of Premises Liability
The lawsuit filed alleges that MSU maintained a dangerous condition on their property and failed to warn the repair crew concerning the condition of the tower prior to contracting them to fix it. This resulted in Lemay and his men falling as the tower collapsed.
Premises liability cases generally require that an accident is foreseeable from the perspective of the property owner. Essentially, you must be able to show that the property owner (in this case, MSU) either knew that the tower was unstable, or should have known had they been paying attention. This isn’t as easy as it sounds.
The question of what MSU knew about the tower and when they knew it will be a major element of the plaintiff’s case. Further, the company that contracted the work to Lemay and his crew appear to have given them the wrong size bolts which added a layer of complexity to the job. It is unclear if this added layer of complexity influenced the choices that led to the fall of the tower.
From MSU’s perspective, they will want to blame the accident on the victim. They will say that Lemay’s contractors should have known better and suspended the job instead of going forward with it. Instead, they climbed up onto a tower that they could reasonably assume was unstable.
Since MSU, the owner of the tower, is a third party and not the employer of the deceased, the family can file a personal injury lawsuit against MSU as workers’ compensation does not cover third-party contractors.
Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another person or lost a loved one due to another’s negligence, call the Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.