In June, the documents were sealed in U.S. District Court showing the legal battle between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Foundation Food Group.
According to the petition, OSHA has asked to interview five managers. Although the company lawyer said he received calls seeking to interview these managers, the managers did not show July 15-16 to testify.
According to a memo attached to the petition, one of the Foundation Food Group’s attorneys asked OSHA to release transcripts of interviews during the January 28th nitrogen leak investigation. Six people died and 12 people were hospitalized after the leak.
On July 14, the Foundation Food Group lawyer told OSHA that managers would not appear if the agency did not provide copies of the transcripts to the nitrogen leak inspection and agreed to provide a copy of the transcript of these future interviews, according to court records. .
OSHA responded to the request by saying “there was a good reason” for not releasing the transcripts, but would allow witnesses to schedule a time to inspect and record any transcript corrections.
The memorandum claimed that there had been no attempt to inspect the transcript.
“Following the information and trust, in order not to show up, the named respondents were acting on the advice of the (Food Food Group) advisor,” according to the Department of Labor petition. “Timing is essential, as the secretary must complete his investigation and issue any citations and notice of fine for any alleged violations … and related occupational safety and health standards no later than September 10, 2021.”
Attorney Matt Cook, who represents one of the managers separately, declined to comment on Monday, July 26th.
The Food Group Foundation did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
In emails attached to court records, the Foundation Food Group lawyer said managers would not voluntarily sit down for sworn interviews if OSHA refuses to provide copies of previous testimony, claiming it is a deviation from OSHA rules itself.
“OSHA has interviewed some of Foundation Food Group’s managers more than three times and they (managers) have also been interviewed by the Chemical Safety Board and are now subject to numerous private accident litigation cases,” according to company attorney email.
The company has until Wednesday, July 28, to respond to the motion to enforce the calls.