Family of AL woman killed in workplace accident files suit against Ajin USA

MONTGOMERY, AL (WTVM) - The law firm representing the east Alabama family of a woman killed in a workplace accident this summer has officially filed a wrongful death suit against the auto part manufacturer and the staffing company that hired her.

The lawsuit is filed more than two weeks after the U.S. Department of Labor slapped a more than $2.5 million fine against Ajin USA and a staffing company for the accident that led to 20-year-old Regina Elsea's death weeks before her wedding on June 18.

The Beasley Allen Law Firm, who is representing the family, says Elsea's death was preventable.

The complaint was filed in Chambers County, AL circuit court, and names Ajin USA's parent company, Joon, LLC and Joynus Staffing Corp. as defendants. The release did not disclose what amount of money, if any, the family is seeking in the lawsuit.

"The family of Regina Elsea and the Beasley Allen firm are hopeful that this lawsuit brings justice to the family and prevents similar occurrences in the future," Kendall Dunson of Beasley Allen Law Firm said in a press release Wednesday.

Elsea was killed when a robot malfunctioned on the plant floor. Elsea and three other employees went into the operation room. The malfunctioned robot restarted and crushed Elsea.

The Cusseta, AL-based plant manufactures parts for Hyundai and KIA.

Earlier this month, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, under the U.S. Department of Labor, fined Ajin USA and two staffing agencies working under Alliance HR Inc. and fined them a total of $2,565,621 in penalties for the federal safety and health violations.

The OSHA investigation issued citations for 23 "willful, serious, and other-than-serious violations" to Ajin USA's parent company Joon LLC, based in Korea.

"This senseless tragedy could have been prevented if Regina Elsea's employers had followed proper safety precautions," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for Occupational Safety and Health in the Dec. 14 report. "In addition, it is unfortunate that Hyundai and Kia, who set strict specifications on the parts they purchase from their suppliers, appear to be less concerned with the safety of the workers who manufacture those parts."

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