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Attorneys debated bail conditions for the Maine roofer charged with manslaughter and workplace manslaughter in the latest chapter of an ongoing legal saga dating back to April, the Portland Press Herald reports. Shawn Purvis, the owner of Saco, Maine-based Purvis Home Improvements, was indicted on charges of workplace manslaughter in April and has been fined $1.8 million by OSHA after a worker suffered a fatal fall in December 2018.

Purvis pleaded not guilty in May and has been free on personal recognizance bail. But one of his bail conditions is to send a weekly report to the Maine Attorney General’s Office about his job sites and the names of any workers present. His defense attorney has been fighting that condition as unconstitutional, while the prosecutors filed a motion last month to revoke bail because they said Purvis was not fulfilling all the requirements or taking the reports seriously.

As an example, they pointed to the roofer’s handwritten report for the second week of July, which said, “Have no work scheduled,” followed by an offensive phrase.

The arguments in court were a preview of what both sides might present at trial. A key question will be whether Purvis was considered an employer under the law and whether that makes him responsible for a worker’s death.

Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin said Purvis should be considered an employer because he is the person who coordinates jobs and provides equipment for the workers on the job sites. She also said the bail conditions, including the required weekly reports, are necessary to protect the workers who still go to job sites with Purvis. She also asked the judge to order Purvis to get workers’ compensation coverage and to follow federal safety standards.

Defense attorney Tom Hallett said the workers are independent contractors who can choose their jobs and work for other people, and Purvis has no control over whether they choose to wear the safety equipment he provides.

After being indicted on charges of manslaughter and workplace manslaughter, Purvis has faced a $2.5 million lawsuit from the family of the worker and an effort from OSHA to collect nearly $55,000 in unpaid fines from safety violations between 2015 and 2018.

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