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Suit Over Workers' Fatal Fall In Church Moved To Federal Court

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Brent Adams
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A wrongful death suit filed by the family of a man who died of the personal injuries he suffered when he fell from a man lift inside a church has been transferred from Texas’ Jefferson County to federal court.

In the suit, which was filed on May 11, Ricky and Belinda Matak, the parents of 24-year-old Walter Pete Logan Matak, and Misty Sonnier, the representative of his estate, say that he died in a March 30 accident in a church in Beaumont, Texas.

The suit does not elaborate on the incident, but claims Matak died due to a defective Genie man lift that Genie Industries and Terex Corp. designed, manufactured, marketed, and inspected.

According to media reports from the day of the incident, Matak, an employee of Gulf Coast Electric, was working inside the sanctuary at Cathedral in the Pines Church doing maintenance when the lift he was working on became unstable, causing him to fall nearly 40 feet to the ground.

On May 27, the case was transferred to the Beaumont Division of the Eastern District of Texas and assigned to U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield.

Court documents say that the case belongs in federal court because it is a civil action between citizens of different states and the amount in controversy is in excess of $75,000.

The plaintiffs are Texas residents, Genie Industries is located in Washington, and Terex’s principal office is in Delaware, according to the suit.

Category: Accident Attorney

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