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Lawsuit against Tim Hortons says 3-year-old boy suffered 'pre-impact terror'

Berkeley Brean
Updated: July 17, 2020 06:24 PM
Created: July 17, 2020 05:35 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — On Thursday, News10NBC broke the story that the family of Bryce Raynor, the boy who drowned in the grease trap behind a Tim Hortons in Rochester, is suing Tim Hortons, its local owners and the company the lawsuit claims was contracted to take care of the grease trap. 

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On Friday, News10NBC read through the lawsuit again and found parts that just make your heart hurt for the boy and his family. 

Raynor was three years old when he died. He was with his mother as she worked at Tim Hortons on University Avenue. He followed her outside the restaurant as she threw the garbage away. As his mother's back was turned, the boy stepped on the green plastic lid of the restaurant's grease trap. It flipped open, and he fell in

The lawsuit says the lid used to cover it was "not fastened or otherwise secured in any manner to the riser." 

It says when Raynor fell five feet into the trap, he "experienced pre-impact terror" and "conscious pain and suffering." 

He was found unconscious 10 minutes later. 

Berkeley Brean, News10NBC Chief Investigate Reporter: "What's the goal here for Bryce's family, especially his mom?"

Lori Robb Monaghan, attorney: "Well, there's nothing in the world that can bring him back. There's nothing in the world that can change what happened that day, but when something so tragic happens so suddenly and has consequences like this, the family wants answers, and they want to know who's responsible, and they want to hold those people responsible."

Brean: "What will responsibility look like?"

Robb Monaghan: "I have absolutely no idea. That depends on the trier of fact if there ultimately is one."

Brean: "But usually it's money, right? They have to pay money."

Robb Monaghan: "Usually, yes."

The lawsuit does not specify a figure. It alleges "gross negligence" and "willful misconduct."

Robb Monaghan: "I'd like your viewers to know that when you do something wrong, you should be held accountable."

A month after Raynor died, Monroe County reported it inspected 2,500 grease traps. It said it found four that were unsafe and said they were fixed. 

On Oct. 1, as Raynor's mother cried, then County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo signed Bryce's Law, which requires grease traps to be secured by a bolt, lock or have a cover heavy enough not to move. 

Sen. Chuck Schumer asked the federal government Oct. 21 to regulate traps requiring a solid lid, fastened with a padlock, and a $40 plastic cover as a second layer of protection. 

News10NBC is checking with OSHA to see if those regulations are in effect. 

On Oct. 17, OSHA fined Ninety Rock Management, the company that manages a local Tim Hortons, $8,695. OSHA cited Ninety Rock Management for a "serious" violation for failing to inspect and maintain safe working conditions to keep employees from falling into large holes.

In September, Raynor's mother, Tenitia Cullem, filed a notice of claim against Monroe County and the City of Rochester. That's the first thing you have to do before you sue the county or the city. News10NBC learned Friday the claim was dropped, so the family will not sue the county and the city.

So what happens next? The defendants officially get served with this lawsuit. They have 20 to 30 days to respond to it, then the parties on both sides start negotiating to see if they can reach a resolution. 


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