Some Louisville restaurants shifting gears to handle rise in COVID-19 cases fueled by omicron variant Sunday, Jan 16 2022 

Some restaurants are asking patrons to either show proof of vaccination or a negative test while others have reduced hours or closed locations temporarily.


Consumers greeted with empty shelves, scarcity of items amid supply chain and staffing challenges Thursday, Jan 13 2022 

Stores across the country are battling through delays in shipments, leading to some empty shelves and others very low on popular food items.


Humana delays employee return once again as COVID cases rise Wednesday, Jan 5 2022 

Employees were supposed to return to the office building in downtown Louisville starting Jan. 17, but the rise in the omicron variant changed that.


Louisville businesses Celebrate Wildcat’s Citrus Bowl game Friday, Dec 31 2021 

Local businesses say after being hard hit during the pandemic, no matter how UK fairs in the VRBO Citrus Bowl, they already feel like big winners.


List | New Kentuckiana laws that go into effect New Year’s Day Friday, Dec 31 2021 

These laws range from topics on health and safety to financial reporting.


‘Our philosophy is just survive’: Indiana business discusses new surge, impact Thursday, Dec 30 2021 

Leaders from all different sectors – education, businesses and hospitals -- all held meetings Thursday to discuss the best ways to move forward.


Side guards on trucks may become required, depends on research results Wednesday, Dec 29 2021 

Although controlled crashes involving cars have shown side guards can be effective, critics contest they're still unproven.


COVID-19 test kits flying off store shelves, here’s how to search for one; What to do if you can’t find one Monday, Dec 27 2021 

People across Kentucky are having a hard time finding an at-home test as many pharmacies and other stores that sell them are completely out.


Nonstop flight from Louisville to Boston is ‘answer to a longtime call’ Thursday, Dec 16 2021 

The American Airlines flights from SDF to BOS will begin in June 2022 and tickets go on sale Monday, Dec. 20.


Survivor of the Mayfield candle factory files lawsuit Thursday, Dec 16 2021 

An employee of the Mayfield candle factory who survived the building’s collapse during last week’s tornado has filed a lawsuit claiming the company did not adequately protect them during the storm.

Eight people died when the storm hit; there were 110 people inside the building.

The lawsuit was filed in Graves Circuit Court on behalf of Elijah Johnson and other “similarly situated” employees of Mayfield Consumer Products. The suit claims the company refused to let its employees leave the factory Friday night, even though the factory had “at least 3 hours’ notice of the danger” the severe weather could bring.

This amounts to “flagrant indifference” to the rights of Johnson and other workers, the lawsuit claims.

A lawsuit represents allegations from one side of an issue. Bob Ferguson, a spokesperson for Mayfield Consumer Products, could not be immediately reached for comment. Ferguson said this week that employees were free to leave without retribution.

Attorney William Davis of Lexington, who filed the lawsuit, has not yet responded to requests for comment. 

Amos Jones, a Washington, D.C. based attorney working with Davis on the case, said they decided to file the lawsuit after the company retained a public relations firm to deny the claims of surviving employees.

“It’s not even spin, it’s a cover up,” Jones said Thursday. Jones issued a press release this week claiming a “smoking gun”:  he later told KyCIR that an employee had a recording backing up the claims they faced firing if they left. But there are no details about the evidence or allegations in the lawsuit beyond those cited in news stories.

When asked about the evidence, Jones said they have information they plan to turn over to state and federal investigators.

OnTuesday, Mayfield Consumer Products CEO Troy Propes announced in a statement that the company had hired experts to investigate how managers handled the storm. 

“We’re confident that our team leaders acted entirely appropriately and were, in fact, heroic in their efforts to shelter our employees,” the statement said.

The factory produced candles for retailers including Bath & Body Works and had a history of workplace safety violations in recent years. In 2019, a man recruited to work at the factory from Puerto Rico filed suit against the company, claiming Mayfield recruited him and others to Kentucky only to fire him because he was overweight. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed.

The company also hired people incarcerated by at least two local jails. Seven people from the Graves County jail were at the factory the night of the storm; all survived, but the jail deputy guarding them, Robert Daniel, died of his injuries.

The post Survivor of the Mayfield candle factory files lawsuit appeared first on Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.

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