MAYFIELD, Ky. — A second lawsuit has been filed by 10 more employees in relation to the Mayfield candle factory collapse. The new lawsuit is on behalf of the estates of three former Mayfield Consumer Products employees who died in the incident and seven more who survived.
The suit was filed in Graves County Circuit Court and claims that Mayfield Consumer Products and supervisor Justin Bobbitt should be held responsible for the incident. The charges include false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violation of Kentucky statutory law.
The lawsuit mirrors the one filed by eight other living former employees who sued Mayfield Consumer Products in March 2022. That class action lawsuit is pending in federal court before a judge who is still deciding various preliminary motions. The new lawsuit is described as a ‘mass action lawsuit’ and includes those eight employees, making a total of 18 named plaintiffs.
William L. Davis, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, described how families of the deceased were being misled and denied certain benefits. “These vulnerable families were led by insurance adjusters and others to believe that $90,000 for the deaths of their loves ones was the maximum recovery allowed in Kentucky simply because these deaths were caused by conditions on the job,” he said. “But that view is not how the law is supposed to work, on these facts.”
The suit contains events since the March lawsuit was filed, including allegations that Mayfield Consumer Products was retaliating against the employees in, “denying, abridging and/or obstructing workers’ compensation benefits.”
When asked for a response to the new suit, a lawyer for Mayfield Consumer Products issued a statement, saying, “MCP learned this afternoon that a new lawsuit has been filed against it and Justin Bobbitt. MCP has been informed that a press release announcing the lawsuit was issued, which is cause for concern with respect to plaintiff’s counsel’s motivation. MCP’s counsel has not had an opportunity to review the complaint but will do so and respond as is appropriate. Justin Bobbitt was a hero on the night of the tornado, and MCP will zealously defend any claims made against him.”
In March 2022, eight workers who survived the candle factory collapse filed a class action lawsuit alleging false imprisonment and defamation of character. The plaintiffs, who were among the 110 people working at the Mayfield Consumer Products Factory on the night of Dec. 10, claim they were threatened with termination if they left the factory that night. They also accused the company of inadequate emergency preparation.
On the night of Dec. 10, 2021, an EF4 tornado ripped through the town of Mayfield. In an account from one employee working that night, Kyanna Parsons-Perez, employees reported for work as normal. At 9:10 p.m. that night, the National Weather Service in Paducah issued its most dire warning, telling Mayfield residents to get to shelter immediately. According to Parsons-Perez, employees were directed to a shelter area, which she described as “a T-shaped corridor” of internal hallways.
Twenty minutes later, the tornado ripped through the building, leaving many workers trapped under the rubble. Eight employees died in the collapse.