Widow gets TRO to preserve evidence at scene of husband's workplace death

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Feb. 20, 2012, 10:59am

Tony Buzbee

GALVESTON - Local resident Fredreka Denise Hayes recently obtained a temporary restraining order against her late husband's employers from Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor.

Hayes' TRO, issued Feb. 15, forbids Dallas Group of America Inc. and Action Personnel Group Inc. from changing, altering or destroying the scene of Virgel Stoker's death at Dallas Group's facility in Texas City.

Hayes is also suing the two entities on behalf of her minor daughter, claiming the respondents bear responsibility for the incident on Feb. 11 which killed her spouse.

According to the original petition filed Feb. 15, Stoker was in the midst of his duties when he became entangled in product packaging equipment after being exposed to a toxic substance. He died from his injuries, the suit states.

Dallas Group and Action Personnel are blamed for failing to properly train and staff members operating the product package equipment, failing to supervise, failing to properly maintain and repair, failing to budget properly for maintenance and inspection, failing to set up adequate safety protocols in relation to hazardous chemicals, failing to install ventilation units, failing to require workers to wear safety masks and failing to ensure a proper safety apparatus.

The TRO prevents the defendants from "in any way moving, transferring, changing, disposing of, releasing custody of any physical evidence within 50 yards present at the time of the incident, and any written or electronically stored information related to the design, functionality, repair or monitoring of the area within 50 yards of the incident, to anyone other than the plaintiff or her authorized agent(s)."

A hearing on a temporary injunction is set for 2 p.m., Feb. 24.

The Buzbee Law Firm is representing the complainants.

Case No. 12-cv-230

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