A lawsuit seeking $3 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages has been filed against the Town of Bulls Gap, Tennessee. The suit by Mary Neill Carmichael alleges breach of contract that led to the July 2008 death of her husband, Ronnie Carmichael, who was the supervisor of the Mosheim sewer department. The lawsuit, filed in Greene County Circuit Court, “seeks judgment against the Defendant in an amount not to exceed $3 million for the injuries, pain and suffering, and wrongful death of Ronnie Carmichael. The suit also seeks punitive damages not to exceed $1 million.”
The lawsuit alleges that Bulls Gap was contractually bound to treat its sewage with a chemical to reduce the amount of hydrogen sulfide and the dangers resulting from the high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide. Apparently, the town did so for a time, then stopped, creating a situation which allegedly caused Mr. Carmichael’s death. The lawsuit alleges that, pursuant to the contract, Mosheim treated sewage generated by Bulls Gap at the time of Mr. Carmichael’s death.
At the time of his death the decedent, who was employed by the Town of Mosheim as supervisor of the sewer department, was working on a pump station owned and operated by the Town of Mosheim. It was alleged that the decedent, while working in the pump station which was receiving sewage from Bulls Gap, was overcome by excessive concentrations of hydrogen sulfide and drowned in raw human sewage. Mr. Carmichael was overcome by the dangerous and toxic fumes emitted by the sewage transmitted to the pump station, lost consciousness, and became submerged in raw human sewage pouring into the pump station where he was working. He suffered a slow, painful and traumatic death by drowning in the sewage.
A co-worker also died while trying to bring Mr. Carmichael out of the pump station. It’s alleged that Bulls Gap “had experienced odor problems” with its sewer facilities, “caused by excessive amounts of toxic gases, including but not necessarily limited to hydrogen sulfide.” It should be noted that hydrogen sulfide is a deadly and corrosive gas, and a known by-product of sewage treatment.
Source: The Greenville Sun
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