PORTLAND, Maine -- A $2.5 million wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the owner of a roofing company by the family of a man who died when he fell from a roof while on the job.
The Portland Press Herald reports that the lawsuit was filed in York County Superior Court on behalf of the estate of Alan Loignon, 30, who fell and died while working on a home last December.
Loignon was reportedly working as a subcontractor for Purvis Home Improvement Inc. of Scarborough, Maine — a company owned by Shawn D. Purvis.
In addition to the civil suit, Purvis faces criminal charges in connection with the death. He is charged with Class A manslaughter and Class C workplace manslaughter. The case is pending.
As the Press Herald reports, prosecutors claim Purvis didn’t enforce OSHA standards that call for employers to provide fall protection when workers are exposed to any unprotected drops of more than 6 feet.
Additionally, he faces a federal collection action on more than $54,000 in unpaid fines and fees for previous OSHA violations.
Run-ins with OSHA are not new to Purvis.
In a complaint filed by OSHA May 20 in federal court, attorneys allege Purvis opened mail that contained notification of violations (before the December accident) but put the violations back in the opened envelope, wrote “Return to Sender” on the envelope and sent it back.
Separately, 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 sought in two subpoenas. The subpoenas were part of OSHA’s investigation into Loignon’s death.
The petition said 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 3:00. I don’t have employees. That doesn’t exist. There’s no such thing,” Purvis said during the deposition.
The Press Herald reports he conveyed a similar message in an April interview with the paper.
“Every single day, I show up at the job site … and I tell them, please, be safe, everything you need is here,” Purvis told the paper. “I can’t sit there 24/7 and watch subcontractors. It’s either they’re going to wear (the safety gear) or they won’t. It’s like wearing a seat belt, it’s either you do it or you don’t.”
He added later: “I can supply everything to be OSHA approved, but I can’t sit there and watch these guys all day long. That’s their job. They’re self-employed.”