EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — A group of attorneys, including prominent civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, announced filing two new lawsuits on behalf of the victims of a deadly Amazon warehouse collapse in Edwardsville.
Six employees died when the facility partially collapsed on December 10, 2021, after a tornado touched down in the area. The attorneys will represent the family of DeAndre Morrow, who died in the collapse. Other plaintiffs include five Amazon drivers who survived but suffered “physical or mental harm.”
The lawsuit alleges that the National Weather Service warned Amazon about possible tornadoes in the area 36 hours before the warehouse partially collapsed. It further claims that Amazon did not modify the employee work schedule and refused to allow employees to take time off until the storm passed.
“Amazon had numerous warnings and opportunities to put their employees’ safety first, but they chose their bottom line instead,” said Crump in a statement. “As a result, six people needlessly lost their lives and many others suffered injury and mental anguish that will likely last a lifetime.”
“Amazon required their employees to work just moments before the tornado destroyed the fulfillment center, despite their pleas to seek shelter at home with their loved ones,” he continued. “It was Amazon’s responsibility to ensure the safety of their workers, and they failed in every respect.”
The attorneys working alongside Crump include Bob Hilliard, Patrick King, and William Miller.
Earlier this year, a different group of lawyers filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the family of Austin McEwen, who also died in the collapse. McEwen was an independent contractor working as an Amazon delivery driver.
Jack Casciato, an attorney representing the family, alleged Amazon acted with negligence in the construction of the building and a disregard for the workers’ lives.
An Amazon spokesperson said it’s too soon to know if there were structural deficiencies with the building, and the company is conducting its own investigation into the collapse.
“Our focus continues to be on supporting our team and all those affected by this tragic natural disaster,” Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said. “Investigators continue to conduct a comprehensive forensic examination of the building and debris — so it’s premature and misleading to suggest there were any structural issues.”