Suit alleges city knew about water plant issues

Posted at 5:51 PM, Dec 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-21 18:33:20-05

West Palm Beach knew about significant safety issues before a worker drowned to death at the sewer treatment plant. That's what a lawsuit filed Monday says.

"Mr. Padilla fell into a pool with everything you can imagine that gets flushed down the sewage," attorney Lance Ivey said.

Ivey is suing the city of West Palm Beach, Riviera Beach, Lake Worth, and Palm Beach on behalf of Padilla's surviving sons.

"It is really mind blowing that there is an $18 million operational budget and they couldn't spend the $20 or $30 at Home Depot to attach the grate system that caused Mr. Padilla to fall," Ivey said.

According to the lawsuit, just two months before Padilla died, a city investigation determined the corroded gates needed immediate attention.

The lawsuit also quotes a letter from another employee that says the city would only make changes when they "pull a rotting corpse out."

Ivey says the lawsuit is challenging because of Workers’ Compensation laws.

One of Padilla's sons is in the military and Ivey says they are struggling with the loss this holiday season.