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Forum News Service, Published December 04 2013

Wrongful death lawsuit filed in workplace accident

OLIVIA, Minn. - The family of Andrew Burnett says he was wearing a body safety harness attached to a lanyard when he fell about 60 feet to his death last year while working at the South Central Grain and Energy facility in Buffalo Lake.

The allegations are contained in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family in District Court in Renville County.

Rescuers were unable to resuscitate Burnett, 28, of New Ulm, at the scene of the accident on Oct. 27, 2012, according to a Renville County Sheriff’s Office report.

The lanyard and a rebar hook -- a component piece of it -- are a focus of the suit. The plaintiffs allege that Burnett’s injuries “were the result of certain defects in the lanyard and its component parts.’’

Defendants include lanyard manufacturer Honeywell International of Delaware; rebar hook manufacturer Pen Safe Inc. of Ontario, Canada; CEEC Inc. of Wabasso, the general contractor for a construction project; and Valley View Electric of New Ulm, a subcontractor and Burnett’s employer.

The defendants deny the allegations in responses they have filed to the lawsuit.

Attorneys are to meet with the court Dec. 11 to schedule a possible trial.