Jury trial set in suit alleging truck driver died from dry ice

A jury trial has been scheduled for Nov. 1, 2021 in a lawsuit alleging a truck driver died while transporting strawberries in dry ice.

Paula Johnson, individually and as administrator of the estate of Eric Johnson, filed the original complaint Nov. 14 against Prairie Farms Dairy Inc., PFD Supply Corporation and Polar Tech Industries. She later filed a second amended complaint on July 16, 2019 adding Continental Carbonic Products Inc., Cee-Kay Supply Inc., Jim Doerhoff, Gary Beem, Curt Edwards, Terry Turley and John Does 1-15 as defendants.

In her complaint Paula Johnson alleges that Eric Johnson, of Manchester, Mo., operated a courier service and was hired by the defendants to transport strawberries packed in containers of dry ice on Aug. 5, 2016.

Later that day, the decedent was found unresponsive inside the delivery vehicle still loaded with the strawberries. He was located at a parking lot in Missouri. The decedent was brought to a hospital and died on Aug. 8, 2016, the suit states.

The plaintiff alleges the defendants failed to properly pack the dry ice in appropriate containers, failed to provide adequate instructions on how to properly transport and deliver fruits with dry ice, and failed to properly package and seal the dry ice to prevent the escape of noxious fumes.

Polar Tech Industries previously moved for dismissal, arguing that Paula Johnson is not the appropriate party to bring the cause of action.

In PFD Supply Company’s prior motion to dismiss, the defendant argued that the only connection the case has to Illinois is that the defendant’s parent company is located in Edwardsville.

On Aug. 26, E. Ben Thames of Maron Marvel Bradley Anderson & Tardy LLC in Clayton, Mo., was substituted as lead counsel for Continental Carbonic Products. Attorney Scott Henry was withdrawn.

This article was first published in Madison Record.

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