Home Radio codes Has Amazon done enough to protect workers? Lawyers intend to know

Has Amazon done enough to protect workers? Lawyers intend to know


Barely a day had passed after a tornado kills six in Amazon warehouse when the eminent lawyer Ben Crump announced that he had been hired to represent the family of a victim. Crump, who has gained national fame for his portrayal of Michael Brown’s family, said he would investigate whether Amazon has done “everything in its power” to protect workers.

This question will likely occupy many lawyers.

Connie McFarland-Butler, who has her own law firm in Florissant, noted that Amazon’s warehouse location in Madison County, Ill., Makes litigation particularly attractive to lawyers in the outside the city. The county is known throughout the country as particularly favorable to lawyers seeking grand jury verdicts.

“A lot of times you have attorneys for plaintiffs in Texas and across the country trying to file a lawsuit in Madison County. [In this case], it doesn’t take much to link up with Madison County and gain jurisdiction over Madison County, ”noted McFarland-Butler. “I’m sure there are plaintiff lawyers all over the country trying to profit from this litigation.”

Lawyer Mark Smith, former associate vice chancellor of the University of Washington, agreed. “And you also have a defendant who has extremely deep pockets,” he said of Amazon. “I mean, it all comes together.”

File photo / Evie Hemphill


Saint-Louis public radio

From left to right, lawyers Mark Smith, Connie McFarland-Butler and Nicole Gorovsky.

The two lawyers made their remarks on Saint Louis on the airLegal roundtable. The panel discussed Amazon’s responsibilities to its employees and whether those duties change depending on whether certain people in the warehouse are independent contractors. They also discussed the issues that will be the focus of lawyers’ concerns in sorting out the facts of the case.

“I think one of the big things will be, ‘Did they have a place these employees could go in a dangerous situation? “And it looks like they did,” Smith observed, noting that all 45 employees who went to a designated area (apparently a bathroom) on the north side of the warehouse survived. The six who perished, along with a seventh who was seriously injured, were on the south side.

The questions may relate to the time workers have had to seek shelter. Were they on the south side because they didn’t have time to get north? Experts say slowing down work in bad weather is not the way of amazon. Or did they deliberately head south, only to end up in a designated spot that just didn’t withstand a huge tornado? Building codes do take into account tornadoes.

Nicole Gorovsky, a former prosecutor who practices at Gorovsky Law, said these are not the only questions. “Part of this lawsuit is going to activate, what security procedures did Amazon have? ” she said. “What were the policies in place? Were these policies followed that day? And that’s going to make a huge difference in the business.

Smith noted that for the families of the victims, no amount of money can be enough to support them together. However, that is not the only goal of litigation after a tragedy like this.

Listen to the discussion of the legal roundtable

“What the law tries to do, often, is make decisions that will help prevent this tragedy in the future,” Smith said. “So maybe they say, ‘Let’s give them a big verdict, because in the future employers will be quicker to put people in safe places.’ “

Gorovsky added, “I don’t want to go on my big, long soapbox here, but that’s why we have seat belts. And that’s why we have a child [car] seats. And all of these policies were developed as a result of lawsuits. “

Lawyers also analyzed the state of mask warrants and public health guidelines in Missouri. After lose a lawsuit in Cole County, State Attorney General Eric Schmitt has threat of legal action against school districts and public health departments implementing COVID mitigation strategies. Some entities having folded. Others have repulsed.

Lawyers discussed what the Cole County ruling actually says, whether it applies to school districts, whether counties have the right to intervene, and whether Schmitt could face any issues with the Disciplinary Council Office for refusing to pursue the appeal desired by his purported client, the Missouri Department of Health and Elderly Services.

Saint Louis on the air”Brings you the stories of Saint-Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah fenske and produced by Alex heuer, Emily woodbury, Evie hemphill, Lara hamdan and Kayla drake. Jane Mather-Glass is our production assistant. The sound engineer is Aaron Doerr.