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Appeal Expected After $54 Million Verdict for Family of Worker Killed on A&M Jobsite

Attorneys expect an appeal in the case of a construction worker who died in an accident on the Kyle Field jobsite in College Station at the Texas A&M campus.

That's after a Harris County jury in Houston awarded $54 million to the family of Angel Garcia, who was using a loader bucket to catch concrete debris during demolition at the stadium. The loader had a 2,700-pound carrying capacity but was bearing a 3,340-pound concrete section as another worker was using a circular saw to cut the piece from a support column, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Per the Houston Chronicle:

The jury determined that Manhattan-Vaughn bore 75 percent of the responsibility while Lindamood Demolition was held 25 percent responsible for the circumstances at the stadium that led to Garcia's death. According to court documents, the jury concluded that neither Texas Cutting and Corning nor Garcia himself bore any responsibility.

OSHA cited Lindamood Demolition and Texas Cutting & Coring - but not Manhattan-Vaughn - following their investigation into Garcia's death.

"These experienced contractors failed to provide employees with safe demolition procedures, despite concerns from workers," OSHA official Casey Perkins said about five months after Garcia was killed. "This disregard for worker safety is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

The website Construction Dive reported that there was also a death on another major stadium construction project last year:

...a roofer fell 50 feet to his death and another was injured at the site of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium. A Minnesota OSHA report said the workers "fell and slid down the roof," and one of them struck a post. The other broke through the roof's guardrail and fell to a lower platform. The roofing company resumed work a month after the incident, but said it was still working with investigators to determine the cause of the incident.

The construction industry has kept a close eye on OSHA's recent moves, as in August of this year, violators could see their fines increase 80% or more when the agency raises its fine levels to fall into line with the Consumer Price Index — the first increase since 1990. However, this Texas case demonstrates that lawsuits are also possible consequences of job site safety violations.