Canada’s Hallmark Poultry Processors Ltd. is being sued by the widow of an employee who died of heart failure after allegedly working a 13-hour shift at a company plant in Vancouver, British Columbia. The woman is accusing Hallmark Poultry Processors of negligence and claims the company did not comply with provincial employment standards.

The civil claim has been filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on behalf of Bao Min Cheng’s wife, Mei Juan Lin, and their four children. Cheng died from heart failure on March 22, 2013, according to a CBC report.

Cheng, who did not speak English and had little education, immigrated to Canada in the early 2000s from China. Both he and his wife became Canadian citizens and all four of their children were born in Canada. Since his death, the family has been forced to survive on death benefits paid by the Canada pension plan, welfare and other government subsidies, the suit claims.

"I can say that Bao Min Cheng's death was a terrible event for his wife and their four young children and they have suffered a great deal of hardship as a result," said Matthew Jackson, an attorney who is representing the family.


Cheng had worked for Hallmark for seven years, according to the suit, which also described the work he did -- lifting chicken carcasses from a conveyor belt to hooks above head level in a refrigerated environment  -- as "repetitive and strenuous labor." 

The lawsuit claims says that Cheng did have a pre-existing heart condition, which caused him to have high blood pressure and required management with medication. The suit also asserts that Hallmark owes its workers a "standard of care ... to ensure that their working conditions are safe and that the nature of the work required and the amount of time spent doing the required work does not place its employees in risk of harm or death."