Stockyard death leads to lawsuit

Ann Knef Sep. 6, 2006, 6:49am

Seven defendants are accused of negligence in the workplace death of Roman Gomez, Jr., who was crushed to death two years ago in an East St. Louis rail stockyard.

According to a lawsuit filed Sept. 5 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, a 20- by 10-foot steel storage tank fell on Munoz while he was working at St. Louis Auto Shredding on Sept. 5, 2004.

Another worker, Ampelio Munoz, was in the midst of moving a large train tanker using a large industrial-sized magnet when the tanker collided with the upright storage tank.

"Despite the storage tanker's immense weight, the force of the impact caused it to topple," the complaint states.

The suit was filed by Roman Gomez Sr. and Rufina Gomez, who are seeking damages in excess of $300,000. They are represented by Anel Dominguez of the Solis Law Firm in Berwyn.

Defendants include Munoz, St. Louis Auto Shredding, Pielet Bros. Trading, American Hoist & Derrick, Terex Corp., Ohio Magnetics and HBD Industries.

Plaintiffs claim Munoz and St. Louis Auto Shredding failed to adhere to company and government safety standards. Their "tortious conduct rose to the level of gross negligence," the complaint states.

The suit also claim that the crane's manufacturer and distributor, American Hoist & Derrick Co. and Terex Corp., were negligent for placing defective equipment into the stream of commerce.

HBD Industries and Ohio Magnetics (a division of HBD Industries) are accused of manufacturing a defective magnet.

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