Lawsuit filed against produce company for first responder injuries in 2019 warehouse death

Local News

MCALLEN (ValleyCentral) — The city of McAllen is filing a lawsuit for worker’s compensation funds that first responders are seeking for medical injuries suffered at a produce warehouse in 2019 where an employee died during fumigation of the building.

On Tuesday, McAllen officials filed the lawsuit in Hidalgo County District Court against Plateros Produces and Spices, LLC., a produce company based in the Rio Grande Valley.

In November 2019, Luis Reymundo Pierda Martinez, 32, an employee of the company, left aluminum phosphate tablets and pesticide fumigators throughout the warehouse located at 4314 W. Military Hwy in McAllen.

Incident reports say the man returned to the facility later in the day and fell asleep. When other employees returned to the warehouse on Nov. 18, 2019, they found Pierda Martinez and his dog dead at the facility.

Pierda Martinez would sometimes sleep at the warehouse instead of making the drive back to his home in Chihuahua, Mexico.

The McAllen Police Department and McAllen Fire Department responded to the scene and found fumigation chemicals were heavily condensed in the air, according to the city’s original petition in the lawsuit.

The first responders reported they suffered headaches, dizziness, and nausea at the scene after inhaling the fumigation chemicals.

Eleven employees with the city of McAllen required medical assistance with medical bills totaling tens of thousands of dollars.

The first responders filed worker’s compensation claims for the injuries suffered at the warehouse, which is what prompted the city’s lawsuit against Plateros Produce.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a $6,148 fine against the produce company for the incident.

Plateros Produce and Spices, LLC. has yet to respond to the lawsuit.

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