Family sues ArkLaTex plant where man died in kiln

Published: May. 23, 2017 at 9:48 PM CDT|Updated: May. 24, 2017 at 10:24 AM CDT
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Attorney Brent Goudarzi has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Marshall Pottery on behalf...
Attorney Brent Goudarzi has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Marshall Pottery on behalf of the family of the family of Arturo Gonzales. (Source: KSLA News 12)

MARSHALL, TX (KSLA) - The family of a man killed in a kiln at an ArkLaTex plant has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against that plant.

The petition against Marshall Pottery alleges that Arturo Gonzales died when he went into a 300-foot kiln to perform maintenance the night of April 16.

The lawsuit reads that the plant was negligent because an automated system suddenly closed the doors and the kiln began heating up with Gonzales in it, killing him inside.

"It's our hope that what we're going to do is shed a great deal of light on what this industry is supposed to have to make sure that individuals such as the Gonzales family never in the future have to endure such a tragic loss," the family's attorney, Brent Goudarzi, said.

The family hired Goudarzi out of the Goudarzi and Young law firm in Gilmer, Texas.

According to Goudarzi, his firm has decades of experience with wrongful death lawsuits, earning them many awards including the 2014 Litigator Award presented by the Trial Lawyers Board of Regents.

"You uncover every rock that's out there and you let your opponent, the defendant in this case, understand that you will not stop," Goudarzi told KSLA. "You'll bring every talent you have to bear and every resource you have to bear until justice is served. That's what we've done for 20 years and I can promise you, that's what we'll do for this family."

The Gonzales family is suing Marshall Pottery for Negligence and Gross Negligence, alleging in their lawsuit that the plant failed to provide a safe work environment for Gonzales, failed to supervise their employees and failed to install emergency kill switches on the kiln.

"Without question, there were numerous safeguards that should have been in place at the Marshall Pottery but for those safeguards being there, this tragedy would have never occurred," said Goudarzi.

In accordance with Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 47, Gonzales' family is seeking monetary relief of over $1 million which Goudarzi said that is subject to change once more discoveries are filed in the case.

"There's going to, of course, be some medical bills," he said, listing the family's damages, including the cost of the funeral.

"There's loss of a father. There's clearly pain and suffering."

Gonzales is survived by his wife, Evelia Rios, and their three children.

OSHA confirmed to KSLA they also have their own open investigation into Gonzales' death, which they launched back on April 18th.

According to Goudarzi, Marshall Pottery has not responded to their lawsuit so a trial date at state court in Harrison County has not been set yet.

Marshall Pottery did release this statement to KSLA on Tuesday:

"We at Marshall Pottery are deeply saddened and still in shock over the death of Arturo. He was a respected and well-liked member of the management team. Marshall Pottery is working closely with all authorities to try and determine exactly what happened and take steps to ensure that something this tragic does not occur again. Our prayers and thoughts are with Arturo's family and words cannot express the sorrow we feel for them."

Goudarzi said they hope a trial will bring to light every detail leading up to Gonzales' death.

"Nobody, and I repeat, no family should ever have to endure what this family's currently going through," he said.

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