Wrongful Death Lawyer Denver, CO

This wrongful death claim was filed in a county court in Lebanon, Ohio, by the estate of the 25-year-old victim, Zachary Hess, on March 26. The named defendants are Virginia-based NVR, Inc., Payne Excavating and Transport and Nathaniel Development Corp., both of which are based in Ohio.

Hess died on December 28, 2017, when he was working at the Woodland of Morrow development. This property was being developed by Ryan Homes, a company owned by NVR. According to the court filing, Hess was digging out a trench so a home could be connected to a sewer line when the trench collapsed and buried him alive. The complaint also states that Hess was discovered with mud in his throat, mouth and nose.

The claim filing also states that a sewer vendor, who is not yet known, dug a lateral sewer line that was dangerously deep, and that the line’s placement was not correctly marked at the curb. The Hess family is alleging that Payne Excavating and Transport did not perform a controlled compaction on the soil, and that Hess was told to dig out for the sewer line in the wrong area and in soil that wasn’t compacted correctly, so it acted as if it was quicksand. The family’s position is that the defendants in this case were reckless and negligent for ordering the dig and creating the conditions that lead to Hess’ death.

According to a representative for the Hess family, basic mistakes were made, and simple things could have been done to prevent this tragedy. The family is looking forward to bringing all parties to account for what happened to Hess in court. His mother, Cindy Hess, has pushed for a criminal investigation into the case as well. According to a coworker, Hess cried out in pain as soon as he was buried, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration eventually cited the evacuation company for nine safety violations connected to the incident, five of which were labeled serious.

The wrongful death claim is seeking damages of more than $20 million for wrongful death, punitive damages–a monetary award designed to punish reckless or careless behavior–and compensation for the time that Hess allegedly experienced grave peril and pain while buried alive. It took over 100 first responders and more than 11 hours to recover the young man’s body.

Local news outlets in Ohio have reached out to the defendants in this case, but both NVR and Nathaniel Development declined to provide a comment. Calls to Payne Excavating and Transport went unanswered.

The simple negligence of a party or parties can have tragic consequences, and that appears to be the case in the tragic death of Zachary Hess. If you have lost someone you loved because of the behavior or lack of action by another person or company, speak to an experienced wrongful death lawyer Denver, CO relies on from Richard J. Banta, P.C. about your loss today.