PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine contractor has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of manslaughter and workplace manslaughter after a man working for him fell from a roof and died last December.
The indictment, released by the Maine Attorney General's Office on April 10, indicates that while Alan Loignon was working as a roofer at a house in Portland he was not wearing federally-required fall protection.
The contractor, Shawn Purvis, told the Portland Press Herald that since Loignon was a subcontractor, not an employee, he couldn't force him to use the gear.
However, the indictment alleges Purvis “had direct and personal management or control” of the project where Loignon fell and died.
If convicted under the workplace manslaughter statute, Purvis could be sentenced to a maximum of five years and a $5,000 fine.
Purvis is also charged with manslaughter. If he's convicted of that charge, he could face as much as 30 years and a $50,000 fine.
Public records show that Purvis' company has been cited by OSHA on several occasions for safety violations.
In a March 29 filing, the U.S. Dept. of Labor petitioned the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine seeking a court order that would require Purvis to turn over documents OSHA seeks in two subpoenas.
The petition says that the documents are relevant to OSHA’s investigation of Purvis Home Improvement and that Purvis turned over just some of the requested documents.
Purvis “has repeatedly refused to cooperate with OSHA investigations and has behaved in an aggressive and threatening manner toward OSHA Compliance Officers during such investigations,” the petition states.
A memorandum filed in support of the petition alleges that a week after Loignon fell 21 feet and died, “Purvis Home Improvement was again performing residential roofing working without fall protection equipment (at another site).”
In a court transcript from a Feb. 8 deposition taken as OSHA investigators were trying to get the documents — before petitioning the court — Purvis testified that some of the records sought didn’t exist, including documentation related to safety and health programs and written safety rules for Purvis Home Improvement workers, contractors or employees.
“I sell roofs, and I hire subcontractors to put them in. I don’t have an office. I work out of my pickup truck. I don’t have a big employee company that has Wednesday safety meetings at 3:000. I don’t have employees. That doesn’t exist. There’s no such thing,” Purvis said during the deposition.
Purvis has been ordered to appear in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine for a show cause hearing regarding the subpoenas on May 9.
The website for Purvis Home Improvement says the company does residential and commercial work.
As of April 15, the website claims “Owner is on every job, clean job site, free estimates and fully insured…”
“Our 22 years of experience will ensure that the job is completed correctly,” the site also states. “At Purvis Home Improvement, you won't pay us a penny until the work has been done to your total satisfaction.”
A court date has not yet been set in the criminal case.