Jury awards $1.7M in suit by family of man who died at farm

A jury has awarded $1.7 million in a wrongful death lawsuit by the family of one of two young people who died in 2010 after falling into a tank at a Barry County dairy farm.

The Grand Rapids Press reports the jury reached its verdict Wednesday in Barry County Circuit Court. Attorney Shereef Akeel represents the family of 18-year-old Victor Perez and says it was “very emotional.”

Yankee Springs Dairy Farm and its owner fought the case.

Perez and 17-year-old Francisco Martinez were overcome by fumes emitted by decaying molasses in the tank at the farm, about 20 miles southeast of Grand Rapids. Authorities say they died of asphyxiation after being trapped in the oxygen-depleted environment.

A $100,000 settlement was reached in a federal lawsuit by family of Martinez.  (AP)

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