An American Airlines worker is suing after a food services truck allegedly hit the portable toilet on the Miami International Airport ramp where he works while he was inside it.
Rolando Luzbel said he seriously injured his knee in the crash, as he was knocked to the floor and jostled around while trapped in the Port-O-Let.
The toilet unit was in poor condition and not properly barricaded, Luzbel said.
“It was rusted, it was not secured, there was nothing placed around it to prevent it from anything striking the facility,” he said.
After impact, Luzbel fell backwards onto his knees, and then forward.
“So as I'm making my way out the door, crawling towards the door, a gentleman outside screams, ‘Stop, stop! Somebody in there,’” he recalled. The incident took place in 2009, but he filed his lawsuit recently.
Luzbel has sued the airport, county, Sky Chefs Inc. – whose employee was driving the airport food truck – and the company that operated and installed the Port-O-Let, AES Portable Sanitation Inc.
Sky Chefs denied any wrongdoing and told the Miami-Dade civil court that Luzbel’s damages, if any, were caused by acts or people over whom the company had no control.
Miami-Dade County and AES also said they are not to blame. In a joint response, they claimed that any damages allegedly sustained were caused either by Luzbel’s own negligence or by the negligence of others.
The county and the companies sued each told NBC 6 they had nothing to add beyond what they told the court.
Luzbel’s lawyer, Ronald Simon, said everyone should be concerned about walking into a portable toilet.
"These are outdoor facilities that are all over the town, whether it's a football game. And there really are no real codes or regulations regulating the placement of these,” he said.
The Miami-Dade County Building Department says it doesn't issue the permits for the toilets, but just requires that they be available for workers. And the Health Department said it regulates the sanitation aspects of the toilets – but not how they are installed or where they are placed.
On Wednesday on Watson Island, NBC 6 saw heavy trucks driving by Port-O-Lets operated by the company Luzbel sued.
"The commercial vehicles and just regular vehicles should be doing their business, uh, far away from where we're doing ours," Simon said.
Luzbel has a sense of humor about his precarious predicament, though he said what happened to him is no laughing matter.
"I will leave it up to your imagination,” he said. “I'm still here but details – you guys figure that one out."