Attorney Roane’s Landfill Death Case Goes Back to Court

On March 14, The Shelby Star published an article on one of Attorney James Roane’s cases regarding a lawsuit that was filed against Cleveland County. The article begins by explaining how in 2010, T.K., a 24-year-old employee at the Cleveland County landfill was hit by a 40-ton trash compactor that wound up crushing the young man’s legs and pelvis. Tragically, his injuries were fatal and he died on the way to the hospital. After the 2010 incident, his mother, S.G., filed a lawsuit against Cleveland County seeking damages and asking for an explanation for what had happened to her son. On March 7, a NC Supreme Court ruling made it so the case will be returning to court and possibly by the end of the year.

“We have been fighting them,” S.G. told The Star in March. She pointed out how they took the case to the NC Supreme Court, which was the court that ultimately ruled on it and reversed the order. Now, after more than four years, S.G. is taking the County back to court. Two years ago, a trial court dismissed the case but by December of that year (2012), the decision was reversed by the NC Court of Appeals. Our very own, James Roane is the lawyer handling S.G.’s claim. Roane said the county then appealed the case to the NC Supreme Court. Roane said that they got seven law firms to try and support them in the appeal, almost all of the largest firms in North Carolina.

“So we went to the Supreme Court and argued the case. And the Supreme Court decided last Friday that we win. The court of appeals decision is affirmed. So we’re coming back to Cleveland County to litigate the case and continue fighting.” Our client is alleging negligence on the part of the county that led to her son’s death. If her case is successful, it will result in the jury awarding money in compensation for her loss. The county’s position is that they are not responsible for our client’s son’s death, and neither is the driver of the trash compactor. Our client originally filed a complaint against the driver in 2011, but when she found out that the county did not have government immunity, she chose to sue the county.

We sincerely hope this case brings justice for our client’s son and his family, and that it will ensure that something like this never happens to anyone else. The landfill has experienced problems prior to T.K.’s death with trash compactors working outside of designated areas and running into each other due to improper equipment and faulty cameras. Roane previously told The Star that if our client wins this case, it will be a high-dollar settlement. Our client had to fight for two years after the county’s appeal to the state supreme court. “She’s been taking on the world and fighting the world and winning so far,” said Roane. “She will never give up and I won’t either.”

To read the full story features in the Shelby Starclick here.