Agribusiness  January 30, 2024

Pilgrim’s Pride sues contractors, insurers in industrial accident case

GREELEY — Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., a Greeley-based company, has filed a lawsuit against multiple parties in connection with an industrial accident that occurred at a Pilgrim’s facility in Waco, Texas. 

The accident occurred Jan. 26, 2021, when three employees of contractors doing work on the plant fell through a ceiling. One of them was killed and the other two were injured.

The injured and the family of the deceased worker filed suit in Texas against Pilgrim’s. 

Pilgrim’s contended in its lawsuit that it had notified Baker Refrigeration Systems LLC and Richards Welding Services Inc. of soft spots in the ceiling the day prior to the accident and that they were supposed to come up with a plan to support the ceiling during the work being done above it. 

But the issue central to the lawsuit that Pilgrim’s filed has to do with contracts that the company had with the refrigeration company and the welding company, contracts that Pilgrim’s said required both companies to maintain insurance and to assure that Pilgrim’s was among the “additional insureds” on the policies. Baker was also required by the contract to indemnify Pilgrim’s against “any and all claims attributable to bodily injury or death.”

The lawsuit alleged that the companies have breached the contracts.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration investigated the accident and cited Baker and Richards Welding, but not Pilgrim’s, the lawsuit said.
Pilgrim’s also contends that the insurance companies, when it sought coverage under the “also insured” provisions of the contracts, “wrongfully and in bad faith denied additional insured coverage to Pilgrim’s and failed to negotiate and/or fund a reasonable settlement.”

Calls to Baker Refrigeration, Richards Welding and Travelers Property insurance company were not returned prior to publication.

The case is Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. versus Baker Refrigeration Systems LLC, The Phoenix Insurance Co., Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America, Richards Welding Services Inc., Nautilus Insurance Co., and Mesa Underwriters Specialty Insurance Co., case number 2024cv30064 filed Jan. 25, 2024, in Weld County District Court.

Pilgrim's Pride sues contractors, insurance companies over response to industrial accident.

Ken Amundson
Ken Amundson is managing editor of BizWest. He has lived in Loveland and reported on issues in the region since 1987. Prior to Colorado, he reported and edited for news organizations in Minnesota and Iowa. He's a parent of two and grandparent of four, all of whom make their homes on the Front Range. A news junkie at heart, he also enjoys competitive sports, especially the Rapids.
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