Seeking Justice for a Tragic Workplace Incident: A Family’s Fight for Stronger Safety Measures

AAC partners Chris Aitken and Megan Demshki represent the family of a 36-year-old husband, father, and dedicated pipefitter from Lomita, who died in a workplace incident at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Cris Abraham and three other workers were exposed to carbon dioxide fumes in the Terminal 8 baggage area.

As a result, Abraham’s family has taken legal action against the airport and multiple corporate defendants, aiming not only to find closure for themselves but also to advocate for enhanced workplace safety measures.

On October 31, 2022, Cris Abraham performed his construction foreman duties in a utility room near Room 102 in Terminal 8. While braising a pipe connected to the new HVAC system, tragedy struck. The fixed-tank carbon dioxide fire suppressant system unexpectedly discharged carbon dioxide into the room, leaving the workers with no warning or chance to escape. The incident affected several LAX workers, and despite the best efforts of medical professionals, Cris Abraham succumbed to the devastating consequences eleven days later.

“Cris was trapped inside the room with the carbon dioxide fumes as the door locked behind when the others barely escaped. He was locked inside despite attempts to get him out,” lead plaintiff attorney Chris Aitken told the Daily Journal.

Abraham’s widow and two children have filed a wrongful death lawsuit in the San Bernardino County Superior Court. The civil action targets the airport and several corporate defendants, alleging their negligence in implementing and operating essential safety precautions.

The defendants include Champion Fire Systems, Inc.; Communication Technology Services, LLC; Communication Technology Services, Inc.; Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.; New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC; AT&T Mobility Corporation; T-Mobile West Tower LLC; T-Mobile West LLC; Sprint PCS Assets, LLC; Verizon Business Network Services, LLC; and Los Angeles SMSA Limited Partnership.

The complaint highlights how the utility room lacked mandatory pre-activation alarms, delay mechanisms, lockouts, and other safety protections. Various entities allegedly failed to provide proper warnings, distinctive pre-discharge audio and visual alarms, time delays for safe exits, automatic lockouts, manual shut-off options, magnetic door locks, proper locking/unlocking door systems, emergency egress, and other mandated safety measures.

Cris Abraham’s loss has profoundly impacted his wife and two young children, leaving them without a husband and father. Tiffany Abraham, Cris’s widow, expressed her pain, stating that her husband’s life was tragically cut short due to a preventable incident. The family’s legal fight is driven by the hope that it will spark change and guarantee that no other family has to endure the same anguish.

The legal team, which includes partners Chris Aitken, Megan Demshki from Aiken Aitken Cohn, and Sergio A. Gutierrez from the Law Office of Sergio Alexander Gutierrez, is committed to fighting for safer work environments and ensuring no other family experiences the pain and loss the Abraham family has endured.

Written on Behalf of Aitken Aitken Cohn