Karyn Sinunu, Chief Assistant District Attorney
Kenneth Rosenblatt, Deputy District Attorney
Environmental Protection and Workplace Safety Unit
For release on November 16, 2005
UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION CONVICTED OF LABOR
CODE VIOLATION IN DEATH OF CONTRACT WORKER;
REQUIRED TO PAY $1.3 MILLION IN FINES AND PENALTIES
Today the Pratt & Whitney Space Propulsion Division of United Technologies Corporation pleaded nolo contendere to a single violation of Labor Code Section 6423, a misdemeanor, arising out of the death of a contractor at its San Jose facility. As part of the resolution of this case, Pratt & Whitney accepted liability in a companion civil lawsuit also filed by the District Attorney’s Office for violating Business and Professions Code Section 17200 (committing an unlawful business practice).
The case arose out of the death of James Franklin Spotts on September 12, 2003, at Pratt & Whitney’s San Jose facility. Mr. Spotts was killed when one of the pipes he was cutting exploded. An investigation by the California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal-OSHA”) concluded that Pratt & Whitney had failed to properly decontaminate that piping before directing Mr. Spotts to work on it. Pratt & Whitney pleaded nolo contendere to one misdemeanor count of failing to warn the contractor of a hazardous condition.
The company will pay a total of $1,320,000 in fines, civil penalties, costs of investigation and prosecution, and funds for programs maintained by Cal-OSHA, the California District Attorney’s Association, and this office to investigate and prosecute workplace safety cases. This is the largest monetary judgment ever obtained in a workplace safety case filed by this office. The company will be on probation for three years.
The case was investigated by Cal-OSHA. The Environmental Protection and Workplace Safety Unit of the District Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case.