Thursday, May 23, 2013
By Betty Adams email@example.com
AUGUSTA — The ex-wife of a man killed in an Albion construction accident last May has gone to court seeking an unspecified amount of damages from the owner of the company that was doing the work.
Robert “Bobbie” Rodriques
An attorney for Cynthia Rodriques, personal representative of the estate of Robert M. Rodriques Jr., filed a lawsuit in Kennebec County Superior Court against Linwood “Hazen” Stover, of Augusta, owner of Kennebec Home Improvements.
Rodriques, 52, died May 15, 2012, when a camp being raised on Marden Shore Road, Lovejoy Pond Camp, slid off its supports and crushed him.
Stover, who was trapped under the building in the same accident, also was injured.
“It’s a tragedy that didn’t have to happen,” said C. Donald Briggs III, the attorney who filed the lawsuit for Cynthia Rodriques.
Among other things, the lawsuit seeks money for damages, medical and hospital care, and funeral expenses, as well as damages for lost companionship and punitive damages.
“It will go through the normal process, and hopefully we’ll get it to a resolution sooner rather than later,” Briggs said.
Robert Rodriques was survived by five children, three of them under the age of 18.
Rodriques was working as an independent contractor, not as an employee, according to the lawsuit and according to statements by Cynthia Rodriques shortly after the accident.
A few days after the accident, Stover said Rodriques was a good worker who did occasional odd jobs for him. Stover also said he paid for Rodriques’ funeral.
Pasquale Perrino, Stover’s attorney, said he forwarded the complaint to Stover’s insurance company, which will file a response with the court.
He said Stover suffers some lingering injuries from the accident but is still able to do some work.
“As a matter of fact, they fixed that house,” Perrino said Thursday. “They did everything they agreed to do with the original homeowners.”
The lawsuit says Stover was negligent in doing foundation work on the camp because he failed to provide a firm foundation for some lift jacks and failed to crib or block the load once the building was raised.
It also said the work violated provisions of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.
OSHA fined Kennebec Home Improvements a total of $9,240 for three violations after an inspection that followed the accident. The inspection found Stover failed to provide a solid foundations for jacks, failed to secure the building once it was raised, and failed to have a program in place to teach employees how to recognize unsafe conditions.
Rather than pay the fine, Stover appealed it.
“That case is not yet settled,” Bill Coffin, a supervisor for OHSA’s Augusta office, said Thursday. “It is going through litigation,” and it’s being handled through the solicitor’s office of Department of Labor in Boston.
Perrino said he is representing Stover in the appeal and that a hearing could be set for May if the matter remains unresolved.
Betty Adams — 621-5631