KANSAS CITY, MO. — A recent ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled against Swift Beef Co. regarding COVID-19 health liability claims, moving the case to the district court.

Swift Beef Co., a subsidiary of Greeley, Colo.-based JBS USA, did not prove the government regulation of the meat industry protected the company from a liability lawsuit, according to a recent unpublished opinion.

The ruling stated that “heavy regulation or encouragement to remain open” was not a mandate for the company to continue operations.

Four employees of Swift Beef sued their employer alleging gross negligence in Texas state court after contracting COVID-19 while working at one of the company’s plants. The suit also accuses Swift of not providing a safe working environment during the pandemic.

The opinion also said that many aspects of this suit were similar to a recent lawsuit, Glenn v. Tyson Foods Inc.

The full opinion for the Swift Beef case can be found here