Texas man wins court case against meat packer for contracting COVID-19

A former Texas meat packing plant employee has won a court case against his employer for allegedly denying him lost wages after he contracted COVID-19 last April.

According to his lawyer, Jose Tovar, a former JBS USA Inc. employee in Amarillo, fell ill and couldn’t work for three weeks.  The firm says JBS’s worker’s compensation insurer American Zurich Insurance Co. denied Tovar’s claim.

A state administrative judge ruled in Tovar’s favor and ordered JBS to pay damages because the court found he contracted the virus inside the plant working alongside other infected employees. 

“Mr. Tovar’s claim for compensation benefits was at first unceremoniously denied, but he stood up and fought,” said his attorney, Christopher Benoit of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. “I hope the judge’s decision “paves the way for claims by other meatpacking workers who were injured or even died as a result of the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreaks that swept across Texas in the spring and summer of 2020.”

The ruling is final as JBS had the opportunity to file an appeal but missed the May 18th deadline.  

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