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Polk County Enterprise - Local News

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Corrigan family files wrongful death suit


Contributing editor

PORT ARTHUR - The surviving family of a Corrigan man who was killed in an accident have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the deceased man's employer. Jesus Mario Cuevas, a 42-year-old Corrigan resident, died on the morning of Friday, Oct. 20, while working at the German Pellets facility in Port Arthur. Cuevas died while operating a skid-steer loader removing wood pellets and/or other material from a storage silo when a large amount of material fell on him, according to a statement released by German Pellets Texas. The Texas-based company runs the Port Arthur plant along with another in Woodville. It is a subsidiary of the Delaware-based German Pellets Holding USA, Inc., produces various kinds of wood pellets for pellet heating and pellet ovens, as well as animal hygiene products. Both German Pellets Texas and its parent firm are named defendants. Following Cuevas's death, German Pellets Texas released a statement that said it is "deeply saddened by this loss…our thoughts and prayers are with [his family] during this difficult time. We have launched an internal investigation and are cooperating with all appropriate authorities." Cuevas' survivors are alleging gross negligence in the suit charging that their deceased family member was subjected to an unsafe and dangerous work environment which lacked proper equipment or supervision. In the suit, which was filed on Oct. 25 in the office of the Jefferson County District Clerk Jamie Smith, the family also alleges that German Pellets failed to provide Cuevas with any training to work inside the area he was working. The text of the suit states the defendants "ordered Jesus Mario Cuevas to work in an environment they knew was unsafe and dangerous without proper equipment, supervision and/or help." The family is seeking more than $1 million in damages. The plaintiffs listed in the suit include Cuevas's widow, Bobbie Langston Cuevas; his sons, Tristan and Jesus Antonio Cuevas; a daughter, Kristin Taylor Cuevas, and his parents, Rafael and Maria Cuevas. The German Pellets Texas Port Arthur plant has been the source of another controversy recently, after one of its five silos collapsed in June. The silo had been emitting smoke since April, which according to statements from a City of Port Arthur spokesperson, was attributed to internal combustion. The smoke eventually enveloped the surrounding community, and the city eventually filed a suit against the company to comply with city ordinances amid residents' complaints. A court order stemming from the suit required German Pellets to remove all pellets from its facility


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