A Mercedes man's arm was mangled while working at a produce company in Weslaco.
February of 2010 is a day Geraldo Gonzalez will never forget.
He was picking up a tool at A-W produce in Weslaco when his arm was caught in an unguarded conveyor belt.
There had been at least one previous incident where a worker was injured by the same conveyor belt.
"This is permanent because the tendons were torn completely. They looked like spaghetti right here," Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez's Attorney John Escamilla said there are no emergency shut-offs anywhere near the conveyer belts.
Gonzalez suffered severe injuries. He lost the use of his dominant arm, despite the efforts to repair it.
He was hospitalized for a month where he underwent 6 surgeries to salvage his right arm. After a year of therapy, Gonzalez still cannot fully use his arm and probably never will.
Mr. Gonzalez's whole arm, all of the bones in his forearm, were cracked in half. All of the tissue in his arm was ripped off. He basically left after a co-worker cut him out. He left with his arm dangling by a thread basically," Escamilla said.
Escamilla said Gonzalez was harassed and was under surveillance by Daniel Arnold, the owner of the packing shed.
Escamilla said that didn TMt stop Gonzalez from pursuing a lawsuit claiming the work environment was unsafe.
"Tragically, there TMs no requirement that Mr. Arnold or an employer has to even tell anybody about an incident like this. OSHA doesn't get notified, the police don TMt get notified. No one knows when things like this happen," Escamilla said.
After deliberating for two weeks, jurors found the owner negligent and handed down a multi-million dollar verdict.
Escamilla said it's time to hold the businesses and businessmen accountable for their actions.
Attorney John Escamilla said it TMs always a good idea to document everything.
If you believe you are working in a hazardous environment contact the OSHA office at (361) 888-3420.
Action 4 News tried calling Mr. Arnold TMs attorney Robert Valdez for comment. Our calls have not been returned as of today.