Swoped Rodante Logo

Blog

Media Alert

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 18, 2021

MEDIA CONTACTS:
[email protected]

Vincent Dolan
[email protected]
813.273.0017

U.S. Department of Labor Fines Tampa Lead Smelter for Willfully Exposing Workers to Unsafe Levels
of Airborne Lead, Despite Experts Warning
Civil trial powerhouses join to take on bad actor

TAMPA, Fla. – The local lead smelter Gopher Resource was found by the U.S. Department of Labor’s
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to be operating in serious violations of
federal law by willfully exposing workers to inhalation hazards, a serious offense endangering the
lives of its employees and their families.

Nationally renowned civil rights attorney, Ben Crump of Ben Crump Law, PLLC, national toxic tort
attorneys from Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, and the Tampa personal injury firm Swope, Rodante
P.A. have filed suit on behalf of numerous families affected by the negligence of Gopher Resource.
The collaboration of the three firms brings extensive knowledge and experience in protecting the
rights of marginalized groups and those affected by corporate environmental crises.

The OSHA report, released on September 30, outlines the unsafe measures for which lead smelter
Gopher Resource was cited. Failures exposed in the report include but are not limited to:

● Allowing cadmium, lead and inorganic arsenic exposure levels above the permissible limit
● Failing to provide an annual update of the written compliance program for cadmium, inorganic
lead and arsenic
● Requiring workers to wear respirators that were not fit-tested annually
● Using improper shoveling, sweeping, or brushing methods to remove accumulations

“This employer put their bottom line above the safety and well-being of their workers,” OSHA Area
Director Danelle Jindra said in Tampa. “Every worker has the right to a safe workplace, and they
should never have to decide between their own health and earning a living. Continuing to put
workers in harm’s way is unacceptable and OSHA will continue to hold employers like Gopher Resource
responsible.”

Unfortunately, this response from OSHA, while validating and important, fails to protect and fight
for the families that are already facing the effects of toxic metal poisoning in their daily lives.

“While we welcome the findings from OHSA on the Gopher Resource plant, it is too little too
late. The damage has already been done to these families. It is unconscionable that these

working conditions have persisted this long. This never would have happened if this plant was
located in an affluent neighborhood,” said Crump. “There are many minority families that will face
health consequences for decades to come because they needed a job to put food on the table and
Gopher chose to cut corners.”

Brandon Cathey, lead trial attorney and partner at Swope, Rodante P.A., explained, “these employees
did not know it, but they were bringing home trace amounts of lead dust that was extremely harmful
not only to themselves, but to their entire household, especially their children who are more
vulnerable to the impacts of lead.”

The legal team, composed of Swope, Rodante P.A., Napoli Shkolnik PLLC and Ben Crump encourage
anyone who thinks they have been affected by toxic metal poisoning at the hands of Gopher Resource
to call the hotline at 833.698.6671. To learn more about the OSHA report visit: OSHA20211718a.pdf
(dol.gov)

###

About Swope, Rodante P.A.

Founded in 1979, Swope, Rodante P.A. fiercely advocates for the rights of its clients, handling
complex litigation involving cases from insurance bad faith to medical malpractice, often
for those who facing catastrophic injury. Known for taking on large corporations, the legal
team at Swope, Rodante P.A. bring the same tenacious fight and unparalleled expertise to every
case, while forming personal relationships with each client.

About Ben Crump Law

Through his work, nationally renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben
Crump has spearheaded a legal movement to better protect the rights of marginalized
citizens. He has led landscape-changing civil rights cases and represented clients in a
wide range of areas including civil rights, personal injury, labor and employment, class
actions, and more. Ben Crump Law is dedicated to holding the powerful accountable.

About Napoli Shkolnik PLLC

Napoli Shkolnik PLLC is a national litigation firm providing representation to victims
of environmental contamination disasters as well to persons in class action lawsuits and
complex commercial cases, aviation accidents, defective prescriptions drugs and medical
devices, asbestos-related illnesses, and other serious personal injury matters. With their
principal offices in New York City and additional offices in California, Delaware, Florida,
Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, Washington DC as
well as affiliates throughout the United States, Napoli Shkolnik PLLC is readily available to
clients.