Mom of deceased teen worker sues Mar-Jac, Onin Staffing

Wrongful death lawsuit filed after boy died at poultry plant in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Roy Graber Headshot
Duvan Robert Tomas Perez
Duvan Robert Tomas Perez

The mother of a 16-year-old boy who died in a 2023 poultry plant accident has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Mar-Jac Poultry and Onin Staffing.

The suit was filed on February 1 in the Circuit Court of Forrest County, Mississippi, on behalf of Edilma Perez Ramirez and other wrongful death beneficiaries of Duvan Robert Tomas Perez, son of Perez Ramirez.

Perez died on July 14, 2023. An investigation revealed that he was performing a deep clean of the deboning area of the Mar-Jac Poultry plant in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. While sanitizing the still-energized machine, Perez became caught in the rotating shaft, with the accident causing fatal injuries.

It is illegal for a 16-year-old person to be employed in a job that requires such duties in a poultry plant.

Mar-Jac Poultry stated that it did not hire Perez, but rather he was hired by a staffing company. It was later revealed that Onin Staffing was the company that hired him.

While a court document did not state a precise amount that Perez’ survivors seek, it did state the damages sought included:

  • Medical related expenses incurred and those that are potentially yet to be incurred
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Value of the future earnings Perez would have earned, and the loss of family and household services Perez would have provided, had it not been for his untimely death
  • Conscious pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish and the loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of relationship, consortium, love and affection incurred by the wrongful death
  • Pre- and post-judgmental interest
  • Attorney fees
  • Punitive damages and
  • Other damages to be shown at the trial

In mid-January, The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Mar-Jac Poultry for 14 serious and three other-than-serious violations alleged. The company faces a fine of $212,646 for the alleged violations.

Perez was the third person in recent history to die as a result accidents while on the job at the Hattiesburg plant, which was pointed out in the lawsuit. Joel Velasco Toto died in 2020 and Bobby Butler died in 2021.

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