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Family of employee who was found dead in Arby's freezer file suit

A faulty freezer door latch may be to blame for the accident, according to a law firm representing the Le family.
Nguyet Lee
Posted at 1:42 AM, May 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-26 15:30:54-04

Nguyet Le's body was found in a walk-in freezer at the Arbys in New Iberia earlier this month.

Now the family of Le is filing suit, alleging her death could have been prevented.

Paul Skrabanek of Pierce Skrabanek law firm is representing the Le family. Skrabanek spoke with KATC about why they are moving forward with legal action.

"From talking with the authorities, there was something broken with the latch, and I don't know the specifics of it yet but whatever it was they were having to routinely keep the door open with a box of oil," said Skrabanek.

The attorney for the family also says that below negative temperatures and being unable to open the freezer door from the inside, may have caused the death of Le.

"The preliminary report from the coroner's office is that hypothermia was the cause of death," Skrabanek tells KATC. "Which is horrific and the investigating officers found a good bit of blood on the door so she must have fought to get out before collapsing."

A former employee, who wished to remain anonymous, spoke with KATC about the freezer door and how it had been an ongoing safety hazard at the workplace.

"The freezer door has been broken for months, they've known about it, workers who have complained and everyone knows it, there were multiple work orders put in," a former Arbys employee says.

Since Le was working alone when the incident occurred she was unable to call for help, the employee stated.

"She was there by herself so I believe she got stuck in the freezer door and she had no one to help her get out."

Le was contracted from Texas to work at the New Iberia location with her son, who was the one to find his mother's body unresponsive in the freezer.

"She was performing some opening functions apparently before the rest of the crew got there, her son dropped her off 8:30-9 in the morning and so she was working by herself and when her son came back to open the store is when he found her," Skrabanek tells KATC.

63-year-old Nguyet Le was a mother of 4 and a grandmother.

Pierce Skrabanek says the next steps would be to be allowed to inspect the freezer door at the Arby's.

"We just really want to get out there to be able to inspect the freezer, we would like for the franchise owner Turbo Restaurants to respond to our letters."

KATC has attempted to reach out to Turbo Restaurants, but have been unable to do so.

The investigation is still ongoing and updates will be provided.

The original petition can be read below: