Sanderson Farms, Inc. removed an employment lawsuit against the company to the Southern District of Texas on Saturday; the lawsuit was initially filed in early December in the District Court of Brazos County in Texas. The defendant explained that removal was timely, that there is a diversity of jurisdiction between the parties, and that the amount in controversy exceeds the required $75,000 needed to move the lawsuit.
The plaintiff claimed in his complaint that after he received a workplace injury from a broken ladder he was fired by the company so that they could avoid potential workplace injury expenses. The injury in question occurred in December 2018; court documents noted that he was thrown against the machine and then onto the concrete floor. According to the petition, the plaintiff received a prescription from a company-approved doctor for Tramadol and was told to return to work. Following his return, he was required to check in at a nurse’s station where he was asked if he took the Tramadol and, after he answered affirmatively, was told he was violating the company’s policies for drug and alcohol use and was fired. He claimed that he asked to see the policy in the employee handbook, but the nurse did not show him.
As a result, the plaintiff claimed that his termination, which occurred weeks after his workplace injury, “was clearly a move to evade financial responsibility for (the plaintiff’s) injuries.” He claimed that he suffered lost wages, as well as pain and suffering because of the actions of Sanderson Farms. The plaintiff filed claims of negligence against the defendant for not maintaining the ladder in a safe condition, not giving adequate warnings to the plaintiff or adequate lighting, and other purported failures.
The plaintiff, represented by West & West, asked the court for action damages for his pain, mental anguish, physical impairment, loss of income and income capacity, and medical expenses. The defendant is represented by Ashcraft Law Firm.