Judge Rules Family of Kroger Employee Who Took His Own Life Can Proceed With Lawsuit

WKRC-CINCINNATI - February 20, 2023 6:43 am

CINCINNATI (WKRC) – Nearly two years after his death, a judge ruled the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a Kroger employee who took his own life can move forward.

Evan Seyfried’s older brother Eric continues to honor his brother’s life and legacy.

“It was incredible to have him as a brother. Maybe I didn’t realize how much that meant until I lost him. He was the glue that held our family together. He was so smart and funny,” said Seyfried.

In 2021, Evan’s family filed a lawsuit against Kroger and two of its employees. The lawsuit claimed Kroger subjected Seyfried to torturous conditions which were directly responsible for his death. The lawsuit claims in October 2020, a Milford store manager made a campaign to oust Evan and make his life a living hell.

The lawsuit claims that hazing, bullying, and threatening behavior he dealt with from his superiors led to his death.

Evan Seyfried

Kroger lawsuit photo 1

By February 2021, he had stepped down from his position and requested to be sent to another store.

Attorneys for Kroger deny those claims and filed a motion asking a judge to dismiss the suit.

This week, a judge denied their motion and ruled the family’s lawsuit can move forward.

“It’s been a very hard, long, hard wait. We’ve always known we were in the right. We want to educate people on the effects of workplace bullying that isn’t taken seriously and could lead to tragic consequences,” said Seyfried.

The family says the store failed to take action against the store managers, and allowed the threats, stalking, and harassment to continue.

Their lawyer Austin LiPuma says this was no easy feat.

“We have been through motion wars, hearings, battles. It’s been a year or so since Kroger’s motion was filed. We’ve been biding our time, hopeful that justice would actually be carried out and we were vindicated,” said LiPuma.

Now Evan’s family is awaiting a trial, where they say people in Cincinnati will be able to hear what Evan went through firsthand.

“We now have the ability that Evan did not to make sure everything that he tried to do was not in vain and it’s now literally my job to make sure he is not silenced again,” said LiPuma.

The family has continued to keep Evan’s legacy alive through advocacy and the “Justice for Evan” Facebook page.

“I think he would be very proud of our family and what we’ve done to stand up for people in his position,” said Seyfried.

Local 12 put called a Kroger spokesperson to get their response to the suit moving forward. Attorneys for Kroger have previously argued the company had no way of knowing Seyfried might take his own life.

The family’s lawyer says the trial date isn’t set just yet, but they expect to happen sometime next year

 

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