The parents of a construction worker who died at the Courtyard by Marriott construction site in Jefferson City in January 2020 have filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Cole County Court.
On Tuesday, Ross and Teresa Schrimpf, the parents of Jacob Schrimpf, filed a lawsuit against F&F Development LLC, and the Horizon Company. Both have ties to locally based Farmer Holding Company.
Jacob Schrimpf, 31, of Russellville, was trapped underneath a large concrete block retaining wall that fell, according to Jefferson City Fire Department reports. Firefighters attempted rescue efforts for about 40 minutes before fully gaining access to him. Cole County EMS paramedics determined Schrimpf had died as a result of injuries sustained from the collapsed wall. The Jefferson City Police Department also investigated the incident and determined Schrimpf's death was accidental.
F&F owns the property where the hotel stands while Horizon was the contractor on the retaining wall that collapsed. Horizon subcontracted Schrimpf Landscaping to do the retaining wall work.
In July 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued two "serious" citations in connection with Schrimpf's death.
Citations were issued to Schrimpf Landscaping with OSHA, saying the company failed to instruct each employee in recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions.
The retaining wall that collapsed is made up of Rosetta stone blocks.
In the report, OSHA officials wrote: "The employer (Schrimpf Landscaping) failed to protect employees from struck-by and crushed-by hazards. This was most recently documented on January 15, 2020, when the employer did not provide training to employees regarding the hazards associated with the installation of Rosetta brand wall blocks, such as but not limited to, wall collapse."
The OSHA report also stated: "The employer failed to protect employees from potential permanent disabling and fatal injuries such as but not limited to broken bones, paralysis, and or crushing as a result of a struck-by and caught-in hazard as a result of installing retaining wall blocks not in accordance with manufacturers guidance and engineering plans. This was most recently documented on January 20, 2020, at the jobsite."
In their lawsuit, the lawyers for Ross and Teresa Schrimpf write that in the installation manual for the wall, it states, "For safety reasons, do not stack wall stones more than two feet high before backfilling." The lawyers claim that on the day of his death, Schrimpf was instructed to get between the "partially erected wall and the earth and spread the backfill material."
The lawsuit also sites negligence claiming F&F and Horizon hired Schrmpf Landscaping, which didn't possess the skill necessary for constructing a large stone retaining wall.
Ross and Teresa claim F&F and Horizon could have known the blocks were being stacked at an unsafe height without the necessary backfill to secure the wall. The couple is asking the court to find judgment against F&F and Horizon for compensatory damages. This would be money awarded to a plaintiff to compensate for damages, injury or another incurred loss.
The case has been assigned to Cole County Judge Dan Green, but no court date has been set.