American Crystal Worker Burned by Beet Juice Sues for $2.5M

December 5, 2014

A Minnesota man who was severely burned while working at an American Crystal Sugar plant last year has filed a lawsuit that accuses the company of negligence.

Kevin Birnbaum was a contract worker at the East Grand Forks plant when the accident happened during an employee lockout in January 2013. The lawsuit filed in Clay County District Court says Birnbaum suffered second- and third-degree burns when he was sprayed with scalding beet juice.

Birnbaum wants more than $2.5 million in compensation. KFGO-AM says Birnbaum is also seeking damages from Wanzek Construction, the designer and manufacturer of the equipment involved.

American Crystal spokesman Jeff Schweitzer says the company does comment on pending litigation.

The agricultural cooperative corporation is owned by about 2,800 sugar beet growers in Minnesota and North Dakota.

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