The widow of a truck driver crushed by steel beams at a warehouse in Florida is moving forward with a wrongful death lawsuit.
Sylvester Roulhac, 71, of Coral Springs, Florida, was killed on Sept. 16 while picking up a load of steel beams at the Kloeckner Metals facility in Pompano Beach.
A pile of steel beams weighing nearly 7,000 pounds and stacked next to Roulhac’s tractor-trailer “became unsecured” and fell on him while he was picking up a load at the facility, according to a report filed by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
“Kloeckner still hasn’t given the family any answers as to what happened,” Judd Rosen, attorney for Julie Roulhac, told FreightWaves on Nov. 14.
“Kloeckner hasn’t allowed us access to exactly what happened,” said Rosen, a partner with Goldberg & Rosen, which is based in Miami.
Kloeckner Metals, headquartered in Roswell, Georgia, did not respond to FreightWaves’ request for comment regarding the lawsuit.
Also named in the lawsuit is Joseph Watt, the Florida regional manager of Kloeckner.
“He was the one in charge of safety at the facility when the incident happened,” Rosen said.
As of Nov. 15, Watt had not responded to FreightWaves’ phone call or email request regarding the lawsuit.
It took several hours for authorities to lift the beams off of Roulhac’s body, according to Robyn Hankerson, spokeswoman for the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
At the time of the incident, Roulhac was working for ProDrivers, an industrial staffing trucking company of EmployBridge, headquartered in Atlanta.
Kloeckner Metals should have known that a “dangerous and defective condition” existed on the premises, court documents allege in the filing.
“Safety first is the only policy that works,” Rosen said. “Money first, safety last doesn’t benefit anyone except the company.”
The investigation into Roulhac’s death is still open, Michael D’Aguino, regional director of public affairs of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), told FreightWaves.
Since 2013, OSHA has inspected Kloeckner Metals, which has more than 2,300 employees in North America, 26 times, but no other fatalities have been reported at the Pompano Beach facility where Roulhac was killed.
Two fatalities — one at the Nashua, New Hampshire, facility in 2018 and one at the Middletown, Connecticut, facility in 2015 — have been reported.
Kloeckner Metals is a subsidiary of Klöckner & Co. of Duisburg, Germany.