Rabbi Peretz Shapiro
DALLAS - Attorney Charla G.Aldous of the Aldous Law Firm in Dallas recently secured a successful confidential settlement on behalf of a North Texas rabbi whose right arm was crushed and nearly amputated in May 2010 while he was assisting in kosher meat processing at Frontier Meats, a Fort Worth slaughterhouse.
Rabbi Peretz Shapiro was working at the Fort Worth company as an independent contractor on behalf of Maspeth, N.Y.-based Alle Processing Corp., which contracted with Frontier to produce the kosher food.
To adhere to the kosher process, Alle hired ritual slaughterers, or shochetim, to travel from New York to Texas. The process then was supervised by local rabbis, called mashgiach, to ensure all religious requirements were kept. Alle hired Rabbi Shapiro to serve as a mashgiach, but provided no formal training or safety instructions related to the plant's heavy equipment. The rabbi's arm was crushed after he was directed to stand dangerously close to a piece of heavy equipment on the slaughterhouse's kill floor.
While hospitalized and under heavy medication following the accident, Rabbi Shapiro was approached on two different occasions by an Alle representative who wanted the rabbi to sign legal papers that would have certified him as a company employee. Doing so would have allowed Alle to file the accident as a workers' compensation matter and severely impaired Rabbi Shapiro's rights to future legal recoveries. To his benefit, Rabbi Shapiro never signed the documents, says Ms. Aldous.
"Alle's relationship with Frontier seemingly has been built on the idea of circumventing responsibility. It's no surprise that this unimaginably horrible accident happened since no training was provided, and even less surprising that these companies tried to avoid their obligations to Rabbi Shapiro," says Ms. Aldous, who notes that Alle was not registered to do business in Texas at the time of the accident.
The case is Shapiro v. Alle Processing Corp., et al., No. 10-07007-E, in Dallas County Court at Law No. 5.