A wrongful death lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Merced by the family of a 17-year old farm worker who died from heat stroke in May.
Maria Isabel Vasquez-Jimenez collapsed and died on May 14th after working in a vineyard in the Farmington area for more than nine hours. Jimenez was a Mexican national and two months pregnant at the time of her death.
Witnesses say the farm labor contractor that brought Jimenez to the job did not provide shade or sufficient water breaks to the workers that day, which is a violation of state law.
The company in question is Merced Farm Labor Contractors.
Last Thursday the state labor department shut down the company, after inspectors learned they had continued to violate heat-stress prevention rules even after the young woman's death.
Records show Merced Farm Labor was fined in 2006 for failure to have a written heat stress prevention plan and training for workers, but it never paid the fine.
A United Farm Workers representative appearing with the family said state action in this matter is too little too late.