An important piece of evidence is missing in the latest update from the Messer Gas lawsuit. This is one of four companies involved in a deadly accident at Foundation Food Group, a poultry processing plant in Gainesville. Messer Gas is the company which makes the freezer system.
On Thursday, a judge said the company had thrown away critical evidence. According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, that piece is a bent tube. The tube is supposed to monitor the level of liquid nitrogen in the freezer unit, but the bend of the tube could mean it was sitting too high to work properly.
Messer Gas is being sued for the deaths of six workers who were trying to investigate the leaking machine last January. Nitrogen was overflowing from one of the units, replacing the oxygen the workers were breathing, causing a deadly situation. All six died of asphyxiation and an investigation and lawsuit by the victims’ families followed.
In comparing the Messer tube with other similar tubes on other units in different locations, this tube should have had an additional bracket, but the tube was thrown away. Attorneys are asking that Messer be found guilty of concealing evidence. Messer claims that no cover-up was being done and that it was simply a mistake.
A decision is expected in the coming days and weeks.
The other found companies involved are Foundation Food Group, Packers Sanitation Services Ltd., which provided cleaning services, and FS Group Inc. which helped build the freezer line that malfunctioned. Messer Gas made an informal settlement with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in August. This lawsuit is directly from the victims’ families.