Mulch facility sued for $500K over injuries in wasp attack

By Jim Boyle | Sep 16, 2014

A New Jersey man seeks more than $500,000 in damages from a Lancaster County mulch supplier he accuses of allowing a wasp nest to attack him and cause serious injuries, according to a personal injury suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Dean Cowley, of Bellmawr, N.J., seeks compensatory damages on one count of negligence against Frey Brothers, Inc., a Quarryville, Pa., facility that sells and distributes mulch for commercial and private use. Cowley's wife, Hillary, has also filed for damages from loss of consortium with her husband.

The complaint says that Cowley arrived at Frey Brothers on Oct. 1, 2012 to receive a shipment of mulch. While on the dock loading pallets of mulch onto his truck, Cowley was suddenly attacked by a nest of wasps that was allegedly inside the pile. The attack caused Cowley to fall from the dock, sustaining significant injuries such as a fractured leg, broken ribs and a lower back injury.

According to the claim, Cowley has been forced to incur more than $50,000 in medical expenses resulting from the incident and has experienced a loss of more than $34,000 in lost earnings.

The owners of Frey Brothers acted negligently by failing to warn Cowley about the possibility of wasp nests hidden in the mulch. The complaint says that it is a frequent hazard of the job about which the defendants either knew or should have known. The management and staff did not properly light the loading dock area or secure it with a handrail, partition or other safety measures to prevent falls.

The plaintiffs are represented by Bryan George in Huntingdon Valley, Pa.

The federal case ID number is 5:14-cv-05208-EGS.

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