A Maine-based roofing contractor has been found not guilty of workplace manslaughter by a jury regarding the death of a worker in 2018.
The Associated Press reports the jury reached its verdict on Dec. 9 at the Cumberland County Courthouse. Shawn Purvis, owner of Purvis Home Improvement Co. in Scarborough, Maine, was charged with one count of workplace manslaughter and one count of manslaughter. The judge dismissed the second charge of manslaughter on the last day of the trial. Purvis had pled not-guilty to the charges.
In December 2018, Alan Loignon, 30, was reportedly working as a subcontracted roofer at a house in Portland for Purvis and wasn’t using federally-required fall protection. When Loignon climbed down a ladder onto scaffolding, he fell 21 feet to his death. A workplace manslaughter charge was filed in 2019.
According to the Associated Press, Purvis said he felt vindicated by the verdict and criticized prosecutors who had indicted him on the more serious manslaughter charge. He previously told the Portland Press Herald that he "can’t sit there 24/7 and watch subcontractors. It’s either they’re going to wear (the safety gear) or they won’t."
Purvis is facing more than $2 million in fines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In 2020, Purvis Home Improvement Co. agreed to pay $45,000 in safety violation fines that occurred prior to the 2018 incident.