NAZARETH, Pa. - Attorneys for former Lehigh Hanson employee Vinny DeNisi say the accident that took his leg could have been prevented.
"There was multiple defendants in this case that had their eyes on it. They had opportunity, after opportunity, after opportunity to fix this clear and horrible hazard yet they didn't fix it," said attorney Mark Altemose.
The lawsuit names Lehigh Hanson, affiliate Lehigh Cement, their parent company and three contractors in connection with the September 2019 accident. That's when DeNisi was shoveling cement dust into a grated channel above a long turning screw. According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration accident report, when DeNisi stepped on another section of the grate, it flipped over into the rotating screw, tearing off a portion of his leg.
A citation issued to Lehigh Cement found numerous sections of the grating weren't secure and the area was not barricaded. MSHA documents say Lehigh Cement has since fixed the safety issues listed in the citation.
But DeNisi's attorney says that won't help DeNisi, who has racked up $500,000 in medical bills and who will have a lifetime of problems and expenses. But they say financial compensation isn't the only reason for the lawsuit.
"It's so important to Vinny and to his family and to us that we take action to make sure this never happens again, not at Lehigh Heidelberg, not at any other cement plant in the country," Altemose said.
69 News reached out to Lehigh Hanson, Lehigh Cement and the three contractors listed in the lawsuit for comment.