ESTES VS. LTL CARRIER LAWSUIT FORESHADOWS COVID-19 LITIGATION

By: Joseph G. Harraka, Jr., Esq. Co-Practice Leader, Trucking and Logistics


A federal district court COVID-19-related action entitled Watts v. Estes Express was recently filed by Plaintiff Jamaal Watts against his employer. That action just one of the many outstanding lawsuits filed here across the country by workers against their employers over a coronavirus- related dispute or claim can be seen as a potentially typical lawsuit that may be filed against trucking companies around the country in the coming weeks and months.


In his action, Mr. Watts, a dockworker at the Joliet, Illinois depot of LTL carrier Estes Express, alleges that, in late April, 2020, he learned that two of his co-workers had contracted COVID-19. Notwithstanding the fact that the two employees no longer worked on the premises, Mr. Watts was concerned about a possible infection of his work site. As a result, Mr. Watts asked his employer that he not be required to come to work “while his other co-workers who were exposed remained contagious,” according to his Complaint filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. “Watts’ supervisor at Estes denied that request and ordered the plaintiff to return to work the next day,” according to the Complaint filed in the action. Watts did go back to work as instructed but he requested to work just eight hours “to minimize risk from the first shift employees because of his exposure the day before to the infected employees.” After making that request, when Watts came to work the following day “he was told to leave the premises” by his employer. As a result of his employer’s alleged unlawful actions, Mr. Watts is seeking damages totaling $75,000, plus court costs. While that is not a great sum in and of itself, if you multiply that damages claim by hundreds of actions, the overall costs of litigation and any financial recoveries by plaintiff employees can add up to a potential significant exposure for the trucking industry. Read more






Recent Posts

See All

Returning to the Workplace under the "New Normal"

How to Protect your Company, Employees and Customers Post COVID 19 Government at every level has begun easing COVID-19 related social distancing mandates and are permitting workers to return to work a

Becker LLC, Attorney Advertising Disclaimer  /  Privacy Policy

Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes.  Readers should not rely upon the transmission of an e-mail message to Becker or its attorneys through this Web site to create an attorney-client relationship.  As well, readers should not act upon any information here without consulting legal counsel directly. 

© 2021 Becker LLC - All Rights Reserved

Full%20Logo_edited.jpg

ATTORNEYS AT LAW