Death in 2019 Frito-Lay Industrial Accident Results in $71.95 Million Verdict Against Walker Engineering

A jury in Dallas County has found Irving-based Walker Engineering liable in the death of a worker on one of its job sites and awarded his widow and four children $71.95 million.

Hernan Murillo, 40, of Arlington was one of three workers standing atop a scissor lift while attempting to string new electric lines inside a Frito-Lay facility on Oct. 4, 2019. Mr. Murillo and the others fell 30 feet when another worker operating a boom lift nearby backed into the scissor lift, toppling it over. The other two men suffered catastrophic injuries.

Rather than simply hearing about the accident, jurors witnessed it themselves through video captured by a camera inside the building.

“When this tragedy happened, it deprived a woman of her husband and four children of their dad,” said Charla Aldous of Aldous\Walker, who along with attorneys Brent Walker and Eleanor Aldous represents the family. “Now, nearly five years later, this jury has given the family some measure of justice."

Mr. Murillo’s family was also represented by M. Kevin Queenan and Carlos Lopez of the Queenan Law Firm.

Frito-Lay contracted with The Haskell Co. to make updates to its Irving facility, and Haskell subcontracted some of the work to Walker Engineering, which placed blame for the accident on its smaller subsidiary, Walker Industrial. The Walker companies have the same address, phone number and website.

Lawyers for Walker Engineering also told the jury that Mr. Murillo created a hazardous condition when he moved the scissor lift into a position near the lift that eventually hit him.

“I think the jury saw that for what it was – a ploy to avoid responsibility for something it had done,” said Mr. Walker. “And I just don’t think juries like it when someone blames the victim, especially – as in this case – someone who is dead and cannot come to court to defend his actions.”

The case is Laura Lopez et al. vs. Frito-Lay, Inc. et al., Cause No. DC-19-16959 in the 44th Civil District Court in Dallas County.