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Settlement reached in Tulsa industrial dryer wrongful death lawsuit

Oklahoman Modified: April 15, 2010 at 5:55 pm •  Published: April 15, 2010

TULSA (AP) — The widow of a Cintas Corp. worker who died after falling into an industrial dryer in Tulsa has settled her wrongful death lawsuit against the nation's largest uniform supplier, according to federal court records.

Thursday's settlement with the Cincinnati-based company came four days before a federal trial was to begin in Tulsa.

Details of the settlement were confidential and attorneys for Amalia Diaz Torres said they could not comment on the case.

Heather Maley, a Cintas spokeswoman, also could not comment on the case, but said the company "looks forward to continuing our initiatives to become world class in safety."

In the lawsuit, Torres claimed the company's plant managers knew about — and even encouraged — the dangerous working practices that led to the death of her husband, Eleazar Torres-Gomez, in 2007.

Cintas had denied the allegations, saying it never put profits above worker safety.

Both sides had struggled to find common ground in the high-profile labor case, and tried unsuccessfully to settle it through court-ordered mediation.

"To me, it has been very difficult," Torres told The Associated Press Thursday in Spanish. And I know that for my children it has been difficult.

"More than anything, it's like reliving the death of my husband," she said of the prolonged legal fight.

Cintas, which supplies and launders uniforms for restaurant and hotel employees and other workers, employs more than 34,000 people. It posted sales of nearly $4 billion in fiscal 2008.

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