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Family of man who died when tornado hit Amazon warehouse to file lawsuit


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    EDWARDSVILLE, Illinois (KMOV) — The family of a 26-year-old delivery driver who was killed when a tornado hit an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville is filing a lawsuit.

A lawsuit will be filed on behalf of the family of Austin McEwen Monday, attorneys announced Sunday afternoon. McEwen drove for a company contracted out by Amazon for deliveries. The lawsuit alleges that Amazon management knew conditions were unsafe as tornado warnings had been issued, but required employees to keep working instead of having them evacuate.

The lawsuit also alleges the warehouse had no basement even though it is in an area prone to tornadoes; the family also accuses the company of having an inadequate safety plan.

Jack Casciato, an attorney at Clifford Law Offices who is representing McEwen’s family, said he believes Amazon should be held responsible for Austin McEwen’s death.

“One of the interesting facts that needs to be looked into is whether Amazon placed profits over safety here,” Casciato said, whose law office is based out of Chicago.

Clayton Cope, Kevin Dickey, Etheria Hebb, Deandre Morrow, Larry Virden and McEwen died when the tornado hit on December 10. An 84-year-old woman was killed the same night when a tornado touched down in St. Charles County.

A lawyer for the McEwen family and McEwen’s mother will be holding a press conference at noon on Monday to discuss the lawsuit. News 4 reached to Amazon for a comment and are waiting to hear back.

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