Attorney General Files Felony Charges Against Employer

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has announced felony charges against an employer who failed to provide adequate safety equipment resulting in an employee death.

Attorney General Bill Schuette has announced felony charges against Joe Novak in connection with the falling death of Brian Tarachanowicz on July 2, 2012. Novak is President and Owner of Black River Builders, LLC.

Mr. Tarachanowicz fell more than 26 feet to his death while removing an old roof deck at Federal-Mogul Corp. on July 2, 2012. Mr. Tarachanowicz fell through a weak spot in the roof onto concrete and was not wearing safety equipment.

A MIOSHA investigation revealed that Mr. Tarachanowicz and others were not using fall protection equipment even though being exposed to a 26′ 1″ drop. This same employer had been citied with several past violations including lack of fall protection gear. The felony charge against Novak carries a one year maximum penalty.

Highlighting a major problem

It is appalling that this type of employer behavior only carries a maximum one year criminal penalty. We call on the Michigan Legislature to enact tougher laws protecting employees subjected to dangerous working condition.

This tragedy also highlights a problem with our workers’ compensation system. Michigan law requires payment of only $6,000 for burial expenses.

A spouse can receive additional workers’ compensation benefits if he or she can prove factual dependence. This can be challenging in two income families. Minor children are also limited in the amount they can receive. Pain and suffering is not available.

The only exception to workers’ compensation is a claim based upon intentional tort. It is very difficult to prove because it is not enough to show knowledge of a dangerous condition. It must be shown that an employer intended to cause injury. Michigan courts have made this almost impossible.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a case. We have represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation.

Related information:

Schuette Charges West Michigan Construction Company Owner With MIOSHA Violation Resulting in Employee’s Death

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