PHILADELPHIA – A pair of litigants believe a food company was negligent in the operation of its compost beds, which caused an accident resulting in severe arm and shoulder injuries to one of the plaintiffs.

Thomas Church and Laura Church of Lincoln University filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Sept. 6 versus Basciano Foods, Inc., of Avondale.

The incident at issue allegedly occurred on Dec. 28, 2016, at the defendant’s Avondale mushroom growing and processing facility. The defendant had Thomas and other guests of its business using scissor jacks, instead of a mechanical lift, to rise about 30 feet above the ground to fill the beds with compost, it is alleged. 

Instead of utilizing eye-hooks to connect the chain hoists to the bars on the beds, the lawsuit says the defendant used vice-grips for that purpose instead.

While filling mushroom beds with compost, using equipment owned and maintained by defendant, the vice-grip broke or came apart, causing a pan filled with hundreds of pounds of compost to strike Thomas, the lawsuit says.

The litigation states the defendant should have known using the vice-grip instead of the eye-hook constituted a dangerous condition and an unsafe working environment, but did not do anything to correct it.

Thomas claims to have suffered a torn biceps tendon requiring surgical repair, nerve damage to his arm, severe hand, elbow and shoulder pain and numbness, pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of life enjoyment, in addition to incurring costs for medical treatment.

For individual counts of negligence from each plaintiff to the defendant, the plaintiffs are seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus interest, costs and other relief the Court may deem appropriate.

The plaintiffs are represented by William M. Davis of McMonagle Perri McHugh & Mischak, in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170900203

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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