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Claim in Landfill Death Expected to Be Denied

June 16, 1988|DENISE HAMILTON | Times Staff Writer

The Ventura County Regional Sanitation District is expected today to deny a $10-million claim filed by the family of a Ventura man crushed to death by a bulldozer in a county landfill.

Salvador S. Rodriguez, 30, who worked for Harrison Rubbish, a local trash hauler, was killed April 8 when a bulldozer covered him with garbage and ran him over at the Santa Clara Landfill.

Rodriguez's widow, Luz M. Rodriguez, alleged in a claim filed May 10 that the sanitation district was responsible for the wrongful death of her husband. The claim maintains that the district was negligent in training and supervising the driver whose bulldozer hit Rodriguez.

A district staff report has recommended that the claim be denied, citing the counsel of the California Sanitation Risk Management Authority, the district's insurer.

Sanitation district attorney Mark A. Zirbel said the district will not comment on the matter.

'Make Landfill Safer'

"I hope my husband's death will force the landfill owners to make the landfill safer," Luz Rodriguez said through her attorney, Steven D. Lansford. "There isn't enough money in the world to replace my husband and my children's father."

Salvador Rodriguez, a 10-year resident of Ventura County, had been married five years and had two girls, ages 1 and 3. He lived with his wife's parents and her brother's family in a three-bedroom house in mid-Ventura. Luz Rodriguez works as an administrative assistant at a bank.

Rodriguez attended school through fifth grade in Guadalajara, Mexico, then immigrated to the United States. Prior to working at Harrison Rubbish, he was a warehouse employee at the Buenaventura Lemon Co.

He loved to play softball and take fishing trips with his co-workers, Lansford said.

Lansford said the family is "not well off," adding that Rodriguez helped support his in-laws.

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