Macy’s must pay $1 million fine in decapitation death of California warehouse worker

Posted
by John Chapman

Macy’s has agreed to pay a $950,000 fine over the decapitation of warehouse employee in California. The company also agreed to plead no contest to charges of corporate criminal liability to charges filed by the Los Angeles district attorney’s office over the 2009 death of employee Roy Polanco.

According to charges filed against Macy’s, Polanco was operating a cardboard baling and compactor machine at the company’s East Los Angeles warehouse in July 2009 when he fell into an unprotected opening on the machine. Polanco was decapitated and crushed to death by the hydraulic compacting ram on the machine.

The machine, also known as a baler, is used to compact waste materials so that they can be recycled. The particular baler that Polanco fell into had been modified so that it could operate without any interruptions.

In addition to paying the fine ordered by the Los Angeles DA, the company has been ordered to perform a safety audit of balers and compactors located at its California retail stores and distribution centers. The results of this audit must be approved by the district attorney’s office.

The prosecuting attorney in the case had been seeking a pair of felony convictions against Macy’s “based on two willful violations of the California Occupational Safety and Health Act” involving Polanco’s death. Under the terms of its plea arrangement, however, Macy’s agreed to plead no contest to a misdemeanor violation of the state’s Corporate Criminal Liability Act.

Polanco’s widow, Maria Ada Polanco, filed a personal injury and wrongful death lawsuit against Macy’s and Balemaster, the manufacturer of the machine that killed her husband. Mrs. Polanco agreed to a settlement in the case in May 2013. Terms of the settlement agreement were not disclosed.

Workplace Safety and Personal Injury Claims

Employers of all sizes—from huge corporations like Macy’s to small business owners—have an obligation to ensure that their workers are able to do their jobs under reasonably safe conditions without fear of accident or injury. When corporations fail to take reasonable safety measures to protect their workers from being hurt on the job, they can be held accountable for their negligence in a court of law.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a workplace accident, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for your injuries. Our law firm, Heygood, Orr & Pearson, has tried hundreds of lawsuit to verdict and have reached settlements for our clients in hundreds of additional cases. In 2010 alone, we reached settlements in wrongful death and personal injury cases of more than $50 million.

For a free legal consultation about you case and to learn more about filing a lawsuit, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following the link to our free case evaluation form located on this website.