Tyson faces $2.2M verdict in injury trial

by Erica Shaffer
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SHERMAN, Texas – A federal jury recently found Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods Inc. negligent in causing an employee’s injuries, and awarded the plaintiff, Asa Ferrell $2,248,927, court documents show. The case was tried in the US District Court Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

“We’re disappointed by the jury verdict, especially given our efforts to help any worker hurt on the job,” Worth Sparkman, company spokesman, told MEAT+POULTRY. “We’ll be examining our legal options including the possibility of an appeal.”

Ferrell sued Tyson in 2014 on claims of three separate injuries that occurred while he worked at a Tyson facility. Jurors awarded Ferrell a total of $498,382 for physical impairment; $774,478 for pain and suffering; $111,531 for mental anguish and emotional distress; $505,936 for lost earning capacity and $358,600 for past and future medical expenses. Ferrell did not receive an award for disfigurement.

In his lawsuit, Ferrell alleged he was injured in November 2012 when he was hit by overhead door. Ferrell also claimed an overhead door closed on him again in May 2013. Then, in August 2013, Ferrell said he suffered a lower back injury while lifting boxes. He claimed Tyson failed to provide necessary equipment Ferrell needed to lift the boxes.

The federal jury found no negligence by Tyson Foods regarding the overhead door incidents. However, the jury did find Tyson was “a proximate cause” of Ferrell’s back injury.

The case is 4:14-cv-00775-DDB Ferrell v. Tyson Foods Inc.
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