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Lawsuit filed in 2020 landfill death

A lawsuit has been filed against Chautauqua County following the death of a Portland man at the county landfill last year.

On Aug. 3, 56-year-old Scott M. Deming, who was described as an independent contractor, was standing behind a large pile of garbage and debris that he had just dumped at the landfill in the town of Ellery when he was struck by a bulldozer. The Sheriff’s Office said the bulldozer operator had “no idea” Deming was behind the pile when the debris was pushed into a pit.

According to court documents filed Monday in state Supreme Court, the law office of Michael D. Hollenbeck of Buffalo is representing the estate of Deming. The suit alleges that Deming’s death was “the result of negligence, carelessness, recklessness, and unlawful conduct on the part of the defendants, Chautauqua County Department of Public Facilities, Chautauqua County landfill and James Christ,” the individual who operated the bulldozer.

The lawsuit further alleges the county violated state labor law and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Stephen Abdella, county attorney, said the county would “not have any comment at this time as the matter will be in litigation.” He added that the County has not yet been served.

See Thursday’s edition for complete coverage.

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