Family can pursue suit over Allen hatchery death

A judge has ruled that the family of a man killed at a Delmar chicken hatchery can pursue a lawsuit against Allen Family Foods.

Herbert Mitchell was killed in 2008 when tons of soybean meal fell on him at the Allen Hatchery. The hatchery is part of a series of corporations that include Allen Family Foods.

Allen Family Foods began paying death benefits to Mitchell's family under Industrial Accident Board procedures, but the family later sought board permission for additional compensation from the company.

Under state law, the family's sole remedy is through workers compensation if Mitchell was an employee of Allen Family Foods.

But the judge ruled this week that Mitchell was an employee of Allen Hatchery, not Allen Family Foods, meaning his survivors could pursue a separate lawsuit.

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