Smithfield Foods sues company that hired suspect in shooting at NC plant

Source: Triangle Business Journal

Nearly three years after a shooting at its meatpacking plant in eastern North Carolina, pork processor Smithfield Foods has launched a federal lawsuit against the staffing firm that hired the man convicted of the crime.

As described in both the lawsuit and media reports from the time, Jaquante Hakeem Williams, a contractor with staffing firm Dycos, pulled out a handgun inside the Tar Heel plant in November 2019, firing several shots and hitting two employees.

In the lawsuit, Smithfield claims Dycos should be held financially responsible for what happened – both in terms of the “substantial costs” in terms of group health insurance payments and the worker’s compensation costs Smithfield had to incur after the incident.

Dycos, which is based in Greenville, South Carolina, does not have an attorney listed in the suit and could not be reached for comment.

Smithfield claims Dycos should also be held responsible for the losses the Virginia-based company incurred from the resulting interruption of its business operation.

Despite written demands, Dycos has refused to pay, according to the lawsuit.

Smithfield claims its janitorial contract with Dycos requires the company to indemnify it for any losses, costs or expenses incurred from the “negligence of misconduct” of its representatives.

Williams, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was charged with two counts of attempted murder in connection to the incident and was sentenced last year to up to 20 years in prison. His two victims survived, though one was left a paraplegic as a result of his injuries. Another employee was injured in her effort to flee the plant, the lawsuit says.

Smithfield filed the suit through attorney James Roberts.