The family of a United Airlines employee killed while helping to transport members of the United States military to Kuwait last year has filed a lawsuit against CAV International Inc., the Boeing Company and NMC/Wollard Inc.
Sixty-four-year-old John Bruce of Arlington Heights was killed while trying to unload baggage for American military personnel from a United Airlines 747 at the Al-Mubarak Air Base in Kuwait on October 9, 2009. The U.S. military contracted with CAV International, a U.S. corporation, to operate this and other U.S airbases around the world. The U.S. also contracted with United Airlines to transport the troops to Kuwait.
Bruce leaves behind a wife and two adult children. The family's lawyer, Chicago attorney Timothy Cavanagh of the Cavanagh Law Group has spent the past year trying to get the family basic information about what happened.
"For more than a year, CAV International has refused to provide any information or even acknowledge the death of John Bruce at the airbase it operates in Kuwait," says Timothy Cavanagh. "John Bruce was serving his country by helping to transport troops around the world. His family deserves answers."
According to the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court on December 6, 2010, Bruce was working on a TC-888 mobile belt loader designed and manufactured by NMC/Wollard. The belt loader was positioned at the cargo door of the 747 when a CAV International employee moved the belt loader without any warning. Neither the belt loader nor the Boeing 747 aircraft was designed with fall protection equipment. Bruce fell more than a dozen feet to the tarmac and suffered a brain injury. After being hospitalized in Kuwait, Bruce was transported to Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights, Illinois where he died on October 15, 2009.
The lawsuit alleges if the CAV employee had been paying attention and doing his job and if NMC/Wollard and Boeing had provided fall protection devices on it's products, the tragedy would never have happened.
Cavanagh says he has spent the past year fighting to get CAV International to produce documents in a discovery lawsuit filed in the Law Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County. United Airlines agreed to produce documents that prove John's death could have been prevented. However, CAV has refused to produce responsive documents or acknowledge their culpability.
"My husband's death has been a terrible tragedy for our family made worse by the lack of information about what really happened," says Patty Bruce. "We don't want this to happen to any other American working outside the country."
"Thousands of Americans are working overseas for U.S. companies and they don't lose their legal rights just because they are working beyond the U.S. borders," says Cavanagh.
Cleopatra Bruce, Special Administrator of the Estate of John Bruce, deceased v. CAV International, Inc., a corporation, The Boeing Company, a corporation, with its principal place of business in Illinois, and NMC/Wollard Inc., a corporation, case number 10 L 013818 is pending in front of Judge Brewer.