LORNA MCMURREY, a 27-year-old West Springfield woman, died in January after a shift working at a Holyoke cannabis cultivation facility. Reports Commonwealth Magazine
The company, Trulieve, was fined $35,200 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which found that McMurrey could not breathe after inhaling ground cannabis dust. McMurrey’s mother, Laura Bruneau, said she is considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the company.
“Things have to change for the protection of the employees,” Laura Bruneau said. “I don’t want to see this happen to anyone else.”
Joseph Franco, an attorney for the family, said the case is still under investigation and no lawsuit has been filed yet.
Trulieve issued a statement Monday evening in response to a press inquiry acknowledging McMurrey’s death. “Our hearts go out to Ms. McMurrey’s family, friends, and colleagues as the circumstances around her passing have recently resurfaced, resulting in their having to re-experience their loss,” the statement said. “Out of respect for the family’s privacy, we are not going to provide any details as to the specifics of that day.”
However, the company said it conducted a thorough investigation of the Holyoke facility. It said personal protective equipment was available onsite, and air quality was tested throughout the site and found to be acceptable. “We cherish and value all of the 9,000 employees who make Trulieve a family and the safety of our team members is paramount to our core values,” the statement said.
McMurrey was born in Springfield and graduated from Westfield High School in 2013. Her mother said she started working at Trulieve in May 2021. She previously worked in retail, preparing grocery orders for pickup.
“She was a hard worker,” said her stepfather Dave Bruneau, who knew McMurrey since she was 4 years old. Dave Bruneau said McMurrey was “a toughie” who would not complain about working conditions. “She knew work was that, it was work, it was hard, it was something you had to do,” Dave Bruneau said. “If you wanted anything out of life, you had to work to get it.”
Dave and Laura Bruneau, who are now separated, do not have direct knowledge of her working conditions at Trulieve. But Dave Bruneau, a mechanic who does welding and fabricating work, said McMurrey asked him for protective masks to wear at work a few weeks before she died, and he gave them to her.
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