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Tyson plant in Storm Lake sued over worker’s COVID-19 death

Associated Press

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FILE - In this April 2020 photo provided by Tyson Foods, workers wear protective masks and stand between plastic dividers at the company's Camilla, Ga., poultry processing plant. (Tyson Foods via AP)

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) — The family of a man who died from COVID-19 while working at a Tyson pork plant in Storm Lake has filed a lawsuit accusing the company and several plant executives of gross negligence.

Michael Everhard, 65, of Fonda, died June 18, three weeks after being diagnosed with the virus. His family contends he caught the virus at the plant, where he worked for 27 years, The Sioux City Journal reported.

The lawsuit argues Tyson and its managers required Everhard to continue working in an environment “rife with coronavirus” and didn’t implement safety precautions to protect him and other workers from contracting the virus, Storm Lake attorney Willis Hamilton said in the lawsuit, filed Friday in Buena Vista County District Court.

Everhard’s three children are seeking an unspecified amount of damages from the company.

A Tyson spokeswoman defended the company’s efforts to protect its workers from the virus.

“Our top priority is the health and safety of our workers, and we’ve implemented a host of protective measures at our facilities that meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidance for preventing COVID-19,” spokeswoman Liz Croston said in an email.

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