The suit is the first in the nation to put the responsibility of a transit worker’s coronavirus death on their employer.
NEW YORK – New York Daily News is reporting that the family of a veteran PATH transit worker who died from coronavirus in April is suing the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), alleging that negligence by top executives there contributed to his death.
Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) is a 13.8-mile rapid transit system operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Robert Elijah, a power rail mechanic with 19 years on the job, was admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms on April 3, roughly three weeks after he hugged a co-worker who later tested positive for the disease.
By April 5, he was transferred to the intensive care unit, where he remained on a ventilator until his death on April 23. He was 61.
The lawsuit accuses Port Authority officials of a series of poor decisions that ultimately led to Elijah’s wrongful death.
The suit is the first in the nation to put the responsibility of a transit worker’s coronavirus death on their employer and may open a flood-gate of similar lawsuits.
Dozens of transit workers have succumbed to the disease since March, including at least 132 Metropolitan Transportation Authority employees.
Key among the bad decisions laid out in the suit is a directive from PATH officials in early March for workers to not wear masks unless one was required for their specific jobs.
Port Authority officials called Elijah’s death a “tragedy,” but said they would not comment on pending litigation.
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