Erica Dupree, of Alabama, was awarded $10 million Friday by a jury in a lawsuit she filed over the death of her husband in 2008. Dupree claimed her husband was working in unsafe conditions while painting a water tower, leading to his fatal fall. Two Haleyville, Alabama contractors, a Montgomery engineering firm and the Russell County Water Authority were all named as defendants in the suit.
Dupree's husband, Christopher Hardin Dupree was killed June 18, 2008 when he fell 150 feet from the water tower he was painting while he was employed by B&H Paint, Co. of Haleyville. Dupree's wife claims that her husband's employer, the contractor and the Water authority were all negligent and failed to provide a safe work environment.
Ultimately, the painting company, water authority and engineering firm were dismissed as defendants. The lawsuit focused on only the contractor -- Robinson and Sons Construction Services of Haleyville, because, as Dupree's lawyer claims, as the general contractor, it was responsible for workplace safety. An investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has since revealed safety violations at the work site.