Family of Waco UPS employee who died on the job sue for wrongful death

WACO, Texas (KWTX) – The family of a young United Parcel Service (UPS) employee who died on the job in Waco in August has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company.

Jose Cruz Rodriguez, Jr., 23, was found dead around 2 a.m. on August 12 in the parking lot of his work, UPS facility at 5700 Franklin Ave.

The civil lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Dallas County State District Court. Along with UPS, two of Rodriguez’s supervisors are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

According to the petition filed by Rodriguez’s mother and father, their son died of heatstroke, which was preventable and, as a result, management was negligent.

“Jose Cruz Rodriguez, Jr. suffered from hyperthermia and died as an immediate result of the defendants’ gross negligence,” the petition states. “The plaintiffs are bringing this civil action to seek pecuniary relief under the law and within the jurisdiction of the Court, including pecuniary relief in excess of $ 1,000,000. “

While pecuniary damages are being sought, family attorney Rod Tanner said the family sincerely want to force changes on the company to protect current and future workers.

“It will likely haunt the family for the rest of their lives, but the lawsuit will hopefully lead to some changes needed to make the workplace safer for other UPS employees,” said Tanner, Managing Shareholder of Tanner & Associates. PC in Fort Worth.

“Under the circumstances, her death was tragic, it was easily or easily preventable, and parents are asking for justice and they also want changes at UPS in the way they equip the trucks that parcel drivers use.”

The Rodriguez family hold a family photo taken with Jose Cruz at his sister’s quinceañera in March before his untimely death in August.(Photo by Rissa Shaw)

Tanner said the trucks are not air conditioned and temperatures in the cargo holds can reach 150 degrees in the heat of Texas.

“Sir. Rodriguez died of heat stroke resulting from his exposure to heat under extreme conditions and from inadequate cooling and hydration,” said Tanner.

Tanner says the available evidence shows UPS was “grossly negligent” in the events surrounding Rodriguez’s death.

“As a UPS parcel car driver, he was overwhelmed by heat exhaustion during parcel delivery. That day he informed his supervisor that he was burning by text message and that he was very ill, the supervisor, by all reports, informed him that if he returned his parcel car early that day there he would be fired by UPS, ”Tanner said.

“So effectively, the company prevented him from getting the necessary medical care and treatment. “

Rodriguez was “in excellent physical and mental condition,” the lawsuit said, adding that he had performed a “comprehensive physical and mental examination” by the US Department of Transportation less than a month before his death.

The petition alleges that the day Rodriguez died was only the second day he delivered packages without a supervisor on board.

Similar lawsuits have been filed against UPS over the years.

“Heat-related illness has been a longstanding – and recurring – problem at UPS for many years. UPS has so far refused to take the necessary steps to effectively resolve the problem, ”Tanner said.

“On the other hand, Amazon normally equips its vehicles with air conditioning, so there is no reason why UPS, which receives billions of dollars in revenue each year, cannot easily equip these vehicles with air conditioning and take the necessary steps. other measures necessary to combat the heat. illnesses in the workplace, ”Tanner added.

KWTX contacted UPS for comment on the lawsuit, but did not immediately receive a response.

Copyright 2021 KWTX. All rights reserved.

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