On Monday, August 19, 2013, an Escambia County, Florida jury returned a verdict of $2.6 million in favor of the surviving minor children of deceased Roads, Inc. employee and construction worker Nathaniel McCants. The landmark case, filed and tried by Levin, Papantonio et. al. attorneys Virginia Buchanan and Cameron Stephenson, was brought under a very limited and rarely used exception to Florida’s well-established workers compensation immunity laws. Under Florida law, employers are generally afforded immunity from civil suit for employee injuries on-the-job. However, if the employer’s conduct is particularly egregious, civil suit becomes a possibility, albeit under an extremely high burden of proof.
During the week-long trial, the jury learned that Mr. McCants, while working construction on a job site, suffered fatal burn injuries to 75% of his body after being exposed to an ongoing natural gas leak that would eventually ignite around him. McCants’ attorneys were able to show the jury that the Defendant job site foreman knew that his conduct, in ordering Mr. McCants to continue working even in the presence of an ongoing natural gas leak, was virtually certain to result in his injury or death, and that he could not appreciate the risk with which he was exposed due to concealment and misrepresentation by the Defendant job site foreman.
Throughout the trial, the jury heard from multiple family members and co-workers who testified that Mr. McCants’ was a devoted father to his children, fully committed to them in every way imaginable. Finally, for the first time since their father’s death over seven years ago, Mr. McCants’ children have answers as to how their father died and who was responsible. The family is hopeful that the verdict can bring some closure to this tragic event.