Family files lawsuit against builder over death
By Shane Anthony
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Tuesday, Jan. 01 2008
The family of a Barnhart man is suing a division of McBride & Son two years
after he died at a construction site from carbon monoxide intoxication.
James S. Loveless worked for Builder’s Bloc, a division of McBride & Son, when
he died on Dec. 21, 2005. His daughter, Jamie Miller, 30, of Crawford County,
filed suit in December blaming the company for his death.
“Somewhere or another, the company should have to own up for what they did,”
Miller’s lawsuit asks for unspecified actual and punitive damages of more than
$25,000. McBride officials declined to comment.
Loveless was working at another job site when he was called to a home on
Berkshire Drive in St. Charles that was undergoing a major renovation. He was
asked to cut concrete in the basement so an elevator shaft could be installed,
The lawsuit says Loveless was told to enclose his work area in plastic to
reduce concrete dust. Miller said another co-worker helped her father put up
the plastic then left him alone.
Loveless cut five to six feet with a gas-powered concrete saw before he was
overcome by exhaust fumes.
An ambulance took Loveless to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
An autopsy later determined that acute carbon monoxide intoxication caused his
death. Miller’s lawyer, Michael S. Williams of Belleville, said Loveless had 61
percent saturation of carbon monoxide in his blood.
His death prompted an Occupational Safety and Health Administration
investigation. Chester Razer, assistant area director for OSHA’s St. Louis area
office, said the result was seven violations for Builder’s Bloc — five serious
and two categorized as “other” — and initial fines of $13,000.
The fine was later reduced to $7,000, he said. OSHA also requires companies to
fix problems that lead to violations, he said.
The company paid $12,500 each from a bereavement fund to Miller and her
siblings, but her father’s life insurance money went to his ex-wife, whom he
recently had divorced, Miller said. She said the family paid for funeral
Loveless was 50 when he died, far short of his oft-spoken goal of reaching 104,
his daughter said.
Now her children will know her father — who was fond of playing Santa Claus —
only from photographs.
Each year, she said, the family gathered at her older sister’s home in Arnold.
Loveless would sneak in a back door, change into St. Nick’s garb, sneak back
out and ring the front door to give presents to his five wide-eyed
“We’ll never get our dad back,” she said.