GULFPORT — An Omega Protein employee, who had been trying to unionize workers because of what he perceived as an unsafe work environment at the Moss Point plant, was dragged into a conveyer in April 2012 and bled to death, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by the man’s mother.

Cynthia Hebert is suing Omega Protein, ACE American Insurance Co. and ESIS Inc. seeking compensatory and punitive damages for wrongful death, pain and suffering, negligence and breach of contract in the death of her son Christopher Allen Hebert. David Harris Jr. of Corban Gunn Van Cleave Law Firm in Biloxi is representing her.

Christopher Hebert died April 9, 2012, at Omega Protein’s Moss Point fish-processing plant on Elder Ferry Road, which produces omega-3 fish oil and specialty fish-meal products. He had worked at the plant about three years. In the years leading up to his death, the suit alleges, his attempts to unionize employees were met with “harsh resistance” from management.

In the suit, his mother claims Omega “engaged in intentional conduct designed to bring about injury, or death, to Christopher.”

No action on reports

Christopher Hebert worked in the maintenance department and reported to supervisors what he believed to be unsafe and dangerous working conditions, but management took no action, the suit says.

Shortly after arriving at work April 9, 2012, he was directed by a supervisor to “weld the seams of a newly installed hopper that released fish products into a single screw conveyor at its base.” The supervisor also assigned a safety watchperson.

“This new ‘safety’ watchperson was not the same watchperson Christopher partnered with normally,” the complaint says. “At the time Christopher began his work, the single screw conveyor equipment remained energized [...]