Tyson is sued after employee crashes car during work convoy

By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau | Jan 3, 2011

TYLER-A Tyson employee is suing the company after he received traumatic injuries after he was in a car wreck during a work-related convoy.

James Odom and Verlita Odom, individually and as next of kin for two minor children, filed suit against Tyson Foods Inc. on Nov. 12 in Panola County District Court. The defendant removed the case to the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division on Dec. 15.

The accident occurred on Feb. 17, 2009, as James Odom was traveling northbound on FM 10 in Panola County in a Tyson convoy of vehicles traveling between work locations.

Odom states that it was cold and dark and the roadway was wet and dangerous. With permission from his supervisor, Odom was driving his personal vehicle.

According to the lawsuit, Odom's car overturned and went off of an embankment and he was thrown from his car. He received a severe spinal cord injury, resulting in complete paralysis, the suit states.

The defendant is accused of negligence for allowing a fatigued employee to drive on a dangerous wet roadway, failing to provide a safe work environment, failing to properly train and supervise Odom, failing to provide any instruction to Odom, failing to inspect Odom's vehicle, failing to maintain adequate contact, supervision or control over Odom, failing to follow Tyson Foods Inc.'s own policies and procedures governing the transport of chicken catchers, and for failing to timely render aid to Odom.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages for medical expenses, physical pain and suffering, physical impairment, mental anguish and suffering, loss of spousal consortium, loss of earnings, loss of future earning capacity, loss of parental consortium, court costs and interest.

Odom is represented by Stephen C. Mahaffey in Mahaffey & Mahaffey in Carthage. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider is assigned to the case.

Case No. 6:10-cv-00667

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