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Lawsuit alleging Tyson's 'gross negligence' caused worker deaths will be heard in Iowa court

A federal appeals court ruled Tyson Foods wasn't acting under the direction the federal government, sending the case back to state court.

WATERLOO, Iowa — A lawsuit alleging Tyson Foods' actions caused workers got sick and died from COVID-19 will be heard in state court.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tyson wasn't "acting under the direction of a federal officer" in operating the way they did in the earlier months of the pandemic.

Tyson had argued the case should be heard in federal court because it was enlisted by the government to maintain the country's food supply during the pandemic.

In her ruling, Judge Jane Kelly wrote the record "tells a different story."

"The fact that an industry is considered critical does not necessarily mean that every entity within it fulfills a basic governmental task or that workers within that industry are acting under the direction of federal officers," Kelly wrote.

The lawsuit alleges supervisors and managers at the facility placed bets on how many employees would test positive. At least a third of their workforce did. 

As more and more workers showed signs of the virus, management at the plant allegedly started showing up to work less and less. 

They offered "thank you bonuses" of $500 to employees who came to work every day for three months, which the lawsuit said incentivized workers to come in even if they had COVID-19 symptoms.

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Read the full text of the lawsuit below:

WATCH | Tyson Foods suspends managers at Waterloo plant accused of betting on COVID-19 infections 

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