NEW ORLEANS - A St. Tammany Parish man has filed a lawsuit claiming he suffered debilitating injuries when a grain elevator fell to the bottom of an elevator shaft.

Stephen Steel filed suit against Cargill Inc. on Oct. 15 in Jefferson Parish District Court. The defendant removed the case to federal court in New Orleans on Nov. 7.

The alleged incident occurred on Oct. 16, 2012 as Steel was working for PMI Iowa and working at the Westwego facility owned and operated by Cargill. While descending in the man-lift of the grain elevator, the lift failed and Steel and a co-worker fell to the bottom of the elevator shaft. As a result of the fall, Steel suffered severe and debilitating injuries. His co-worker died from massive blood loss while lying on top of Steel in the man-lift.

Steel suffered a spinal fracture, paralysis, kidney failure, and other injuries.

The defendant is accused of negligence for failing to take reasonable care in installing the proper safety equipment in its grain elevator, failing to take reasonable action in keeping its building from ruin, failing to protect the safety of people on its premises, failing to not properly equip workers with emergency communications devices, failing to properly train Steel to work in dangerous areas and in giving him only limited and insufficient safety training, failing to properly supervise Joey, and for failing to warn Steel of safety concerns involving the elevators at the Westwego site.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of damages for physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, anxiety, medical expenses, physical disability and impairment, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of income and earning capacity, loss of consortium, services, and society, attendant and custodial care expenses, attorney’s fees, interest, and court costs.

Steel is represented by W. Raley Alford III, Jenifer L. Thornton, and Michelle W. Scelson of Stanley, Reuter, Ross, Thornton & Alford, L.L.C. in New Orleans. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:13-cv-06358

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