Archive for Friday, December 29, 2006

Toxic’ trash spurs city suit

Sanitation worker says chemicals were at retirement center

December 29, 2006


The city of Lawrence and one of its employees have asked a judge to decide whether the company that runs Brandon Woods Retirement Community failed to prevent dumped chemicals from burning a sanitation worker.

Attorney Brian Johnson filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Douglas County District Court on behalf of Stacy T. Patterson and the city, alleging that Life Care Services LLC was negligent in placing the "toxic liquid" in a trash bin rather than properly disposing of it.

"There are specific guidelines for disposing for that type of chemical," Johnson said in an interview.

According to the lawsuit, Patterson was emptying a trash bin in March 2005 when the chemical inside splashed on his face. The chemical was an industrial kitchen cleaner, Johnson said, and in large quantity.

Employees at the center, 1501 Inverness Drive, put the chemical in the trash bin illegally, the lawsuit claims. Brandon Woods itself is not named as a defendant.

Judy Buxo, director of operations for Life Care Services LLC, said the company had not yet been served the lawsuit and declined comment until then.

Bob Yoos, solid waste manager for Lawrence, said the city contacted employees at Brandon Woods after the incident and conducted "educational training" there.

To his knowledge, the city hasn't received any other complaints about the center, and employees have stopped placing those types of chemicals in trash bins.

"Hopefully, they're disposing of those correctly," Yoos said.

But Yoos said Brandon Woods cut off contact with the city after talk of a lawsuit.

Johnson said Patterson and the company had discussed settling the matter before it reached the courts. But Patterson's injuries worsened and he has said he may have permanent injuries, including some nerve damage.

Patterson is asking the judge to award damages in excess of $75,000, according to the suit.

The matter likely will hinge on the amount of chemical in the trash bin, Yoos said. It's acceptable for someone to throw out a small amount of cleaner - a spray bottle of window cleaner, for example. But larger amounts likely would violate state environmental laws.

Mike Heideman, spokesman for Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said the state hadn't received any complaints about Life Care Services LLC.


cowboy 11 years, 4 months ago

Having observed the city trash crews busting their butts emptying our trash they seem to never have any safety gear on , i.e. glasses , to prevent these type injuries not to mention the inhaled hazards.

carolannfugate 11 years, 4 months ago

I should sue the City Trash Collectors for failure to pick up trash and for leaving my cans in the street. thereby endangering my life. What whiners the trash crews are. Get over yourself and shut up.

eduardo 11 years, 4 months ago

If the company broke the law in the method used to dispose of the toxic material and someone was injured, then a law suit is warranted. At least the trash crews are out there working instead of sitting on their a##es at home playing on the Internet.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 4 months ago

not to defend brandon woods but they do not have trash cans that a city worker ever needs to put their hands on one is a compactor ,big, that gets removed a replaced every week and the other three are the kind you find at resurants and the like and the trash truck picks up and emptys not the city workers.

carolannfugate 11 years, 4 months ago

And they get paid far too much for allowing trash to blow around becasuse they are too lazy to clean up behind themselves.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 4 months ago

saying, why would a city worker be touching trash cans that are made to be picked up by arms on trucks or completly removed by truck. Did it happen at brandon woods or at the dump? sounds more likely to have happened at the dump but the article says branon woods. Why was he touching the trash at all?

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 4 months ago

ps biggunz to early for my brain to think so hard, have pity on me plz.

Steve Mechels 11 years, 4 months ago


Someone still has to be at the back of the truck operating the controls that lift the dumpsters

Steve Mechels 11 years, 4 months ago

Yo carolann,

If everyone did what they were supposed to (i.e. bag their trash) there wouldn't be anything to blow around. Their job is to empty trash cans, not pick up litter. Everyone, please bag your trash, even if you use a can!

Emily Hadley 11 years, 4 months ago

"...leaving my cans in the street. thereby endangering my life. What whiners the trash crews are..."

This is horrible. Carolann, I doubt your life has EVER been endangered by a trash can.

Have you tried moving it out of the way rather than trying to jump over it, Donkey Kong-style? That might be safer.

Maybe you haven't noticed that they fall over WHEN THEY ARE EMPTY.

I jokingly quoted Bill O'Reilly once and said 'shut up', and my comment was immediately removed. I won't suggest your removal because that comment is so lame, ignorant, and holier-than-thou that I want as many people as possible to read it, hopefully some that know you.

I pick up my neighbors' cans in the alley. I bet you're the lady who drives into them while the owners are at school and work, so they have to buy new ones.

Would YOU pay an extra 100-200% on your garbage collection to pay them for double the time, so they can put them all back neatly?

Or we can have them start across town, neatly taking their time, and hope that they have time to make it to your house before it's time to go home. If not, YOU can wait for them to come next week.

This guy has serious injuries and facial nerve damage. The company seriously hurt someone because they broke clear laws about hazardous waste. I'm guessing you do, too.

Get over yourself. Please.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 4 months ago

pity pity plz brain on leave. But I do have questons about the incedent and claims, but like I said not defending BW, just going mmmmm.

Emily Hadley 11 years, 4 months ago

I can't believe I have sunk to responding to someone who not only describes the Mad Greek as her favorite website, but also chooses an alias of a real person who actually killed her parents and baby sister, and then misspells the killer's name.

This is a new low for me.


My sympathy to Stacy T. Patterson and your family, I wish you a speedy and full recovery, and I trust that justice will be served in this suit.

Christine Pennewell Davis 11 years, 4 months ago

emily it is all good somedays you just have those days, its not a low just a slip.

pelliott 11 years, 4 months ago

gosh, this reminds me. when ever anyone complains that the trash collectors are lazy, I just assume they are stupid or a little nuts, below zero weather, 104, lots of picking up,bending, they routinely pick up litter and debris in addition to proper containers. I have seen them go the extra mile more than I have seen them miss one.. We have wonderful sanitation workers in this town ( in spite of yoos and mike cheek who are total jerks). Some joker puts poison out for someone else to handle and doesn't tell them, is just that, stupid and dangerous. Don't sneak it out and hide it in your trash. Be responsible. People who call other people lazy or crooked because of their jobs position usually are blabbermouths who take no personal responsibility for their own veracity. NO HONOR.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 4 months ago

bottom line: Chemical was not disposed of properly = violation of ordinance = injury could have been prevented.

Go after irresponsible party.

pelliott 11 years, 4 months ago

one thing surprises me. Why is yoo's chatting, if a law suit is in the works then don't the lawyers usually suggest keeping quiet until court.

hawkfan24 11 years, 4 months ago

Hey carolannfugate, I am one of those whiners. I am a sanitation worker, I just happened to be there when this happened and that is all I will say about that. You think we are lazy and put your life in danger? You come and do my job for one day, you walk in and out of traffic, work in the elements, and pick up the messes that we pick up. You know why we do it, to serve people like you that appreciate us so much. People like you, the public put OUR lives in danger every day. We have had to jump into the back off the truck with the trash to avoid from being hit by cars, we have had to jump over cars, and we have to take the risk that someone like you will put chemicals out and we have to deal with that. Bottom line put yourself in someone elses shoes and just picture yourself doing their job, I would love to see it!

Have a SAFE holiday.

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