Jury favors Tecno Poultry Equipment in cage collapse suit

When a caging system collapsed in 2020, it killed an employee of a Rembrandt Enterprises contractor.

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A federal jury ruled that Tecno Poultry Equipment was not at fault when a caging system at a Rembrandt Enterprises egg farm collapsed and killed a worker.

The case stems from a 2020 incident when Humberto Jesus Lopez, a subcontractor employee working for Rembrandt Enterprises, was buried underneath the collapsed caging system that was manufactured by Tecno Poultry Equipment.

Rembrandt filed a suit against Tecno, alleging that Tecno was negligent in its supervision of the installation of the caging system at a company facility in Rembrandt, Iowa.

The case was heard in an eight-day trial in the U.S. District Court in Sioux City, Iowa, with the jury finding Tecno not at fault.

In its suit, the Sioux City Journal reported, Rembrandt alleged fasteners and brackets were not installed during the barn’s construction, causing the system to collapse. However, Tecno was not the company that installed the system. But Tecno did have an obligation to supervise the contractor that did the installation, the lawsuit asserted.

Rembrandt, in its suit, sought compensation for damages that included damages to the barn’s conveyor and environmental control systems, as well as losses for the interruption caused by the accident.

The estate of Lopez earlier filed a lawsuit against Rembrandt, with the two parties reaching a settlement in July 2023. The terms of that settlement were not disclosed.

Rembrandt Enterprises, according to the WATTPoultry Top Companies Database, is the 36th largest egg producer in the United States, with a flock of 2 million hens. The company produces conventional and cage-free frozen, liquid and dried egg products and precooked eggs. It supplies egg ingredients to food manufacturers, foodservice and pet food manufacturers.

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