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State shuts down farm company

June 14, 2008|From the Associated Press

FRESNO — State officials are shutting down a San Joaquin Valley farm labor contractor that hired a pregnant teen who died while pruning grapes last month.

Authorities suspect 17-year-old Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez died because Merced Farm Labor denied her proper access to shade and water even as she worked in 100-degree heat.

The California Department of Industrial Relations issued the stop-work order Thursday.

Labor officials say a follow-up investigation showed the company still wasn't complying with heat illness regulations.

Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet is also in the process of revoking the contractor's license.

Merced Farm Labor's attorney did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

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