Author

Kurt Niland

4591 posts

Kurt Niland has been a professional editor and writer for 15 years. He is the author of four books and a number of articles for trade journals, newspapers, magazines, and web blogs. He attended New Mexico State University, the University of New Mexico, and Auburn University Montgomery, where he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English. His lifelong interests in geography, anthropology, political science, literature, and religion fuel his writing and inspire him to travel at every opportunity. Originally from Connecticut, Kurt has resided in Montgomery, Alabama since 1991.

Whistleblower’s Import Fraud Case Helps U.S. Recover $10.5 Million

A whistleblower who filed a False Claims Act lawsuit alleging Bassett Mirror Company was evading customs duties by misclassifying its imported furniture has helped the U.S. government recover $10.5 million. Bassett Mirror Company, a Virginia-based home furnishing company, imports wooden bedroom furniture from the People’s Republic of China. According to the whistleblower allegations, Bassett evaded paying antidumping duties on those furniture imports by intentionally misclassifying them as non-bedroom furniture. Antidumping duties are put in place to protect U.S. manufacturers from foreign companies “dumping” products on the U.S. market at prices below cost. The U.S. Commerce Department assesses the duties and the ... Read More

VW Tiguan Probed by Feds After Seat Belt Failures

Federal regulators opened an investigation into Volkswagen’s (VW) newest Tiguan sport utility vehicles after the front seatbelts failed twice in two front-impact tests conducted by government researchers. A memo posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website says the seat belt failures occurred in two tests of VW’s 2018 Tiguan models conducted in December. According to Bloomberg, the driver’s seat belt webbing “completely separated” where it loops through the tongue latch that clicks into the buckle. The seat belt assemblies broke in two separate frontal impact tests in which the Tiguan collided with a rigid barrier while traveling ... Read More

Congresswoman Slams CDC Over ‘Slow’ Response To E. Coli Outbreak

U.S Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) slammed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for its “stunning lack of guidance” and “slow and insufficient response” to a deadly outbreak of E. coli that Canadian health authorities linked to contaminated romaine lettuce. Rep. DeLauro, who often champions food safety issues, sent her harsh rebuke to CDC director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, criticizing the agency’s lack of initiative in informing Americans about the E. coli outbreak. In the letter, Rep. DeLauro suggests the CDC’s delay could have cost U.S. consumers their life. “CDC’s stunning lack of guidance to consumers regarding this outbreak is ... Read More

Another SFO Close Call: Aeroméxico Plane Heads To Wrong Runway

An Aeroméxico plane approaching San Francisco International Airport (SFO) was moments away from landing on the wrong runway Jan. 9, the third close call at the airport since July 7, when an Air Canada plane nearly landed on a crowded taxiway. Aeroméxico Flight 668 was arriving from Mexico City when it lined up to land on runway 28L (left) instead of its intended runway 28R (right). According to CBS News, the Aeroméxico pilots confirmed SFO air traffic control directions to land on runway 28R, but headed for the other parallel runway instead. The Aeroméxico plane was about a mile away ... Read More

VW Emissions Settlements Don’t Affect County Claims, Plaintiffs Argue

Settlements resolving claims over Volkswagen’s (VW) emissions cheat and the federal Clean Air Act do not bar air pollution complaints lodged by Hillsborough County, Florida, and Salt Lake County, Utah, lawyers for the counties told a California federal court. Volkswagen is pressing the U.S. District Court in San Francisco to toss the counties’ claims that they are entitled to compensation for pollution caused by VW’s emissions cheat under state laws. Those complaints are currently included in multidistrict litigation (MDL) consolidated in the California court. In 2014, West Virginia University researchers and other members of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) discovered ... Read More

NTSB Recommends Four Railroad Safety Measures In Wake of 2015 Rail Accidents

Federal safety investigators recommended the railroad industry take four measures to improve rail safety based on its findings from two separate 2015 train accidents. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said its recommendations stem from its probe of a railroad accident in Kansas City, Kansas, that killed a Union Pacific employee in September 2015 and an oil train derailment in Heimdal, North Dakota, that released more than 96,000 gallons of crude oil into the environment in May 2015. In the Kansas accident, a Union Pacific Railroad foreman died after being struck by a remote-controlled train during switching operations at the ... Read More

Tractor-Trailers, Greyhound Crash on Kentucky Highway, Injuring 21

Nearly two dozen people were injured in a highway pileup in Kentucky Tuesday, Jan. 16, involving multiple vehicles, including two tractor-trailers and a Greyhound bus. Bowling Green, Kentucky’s WBKO Channel 13 reported that preliminary investigations found that winter weather conditions played a role in the accident, which occurred before 6 a.m. in the southbound lanes of I-65 near Bonnieville, Kentucky. According to Kentucky State Troopers, a tractor-trailer driven by Kenith Miller, 54, of Tampa, Florida, was traveling on I-65 southbound when he struck a Kentucky Transportation Department Safety Patrol truck that was parked in the right emergency lane to assist ... Read More

Texas Man Injured By E-Cigarette Blast Files Lawsuit

A Houston man whose e-cigarette exploded in his face a year ago, leaving him with serious facial and bodily injuries, has filed a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the lithium-ion battery that allegedly caused the blast and the vape shop that sold it to him. According to the SE TexasRecord, plaintiff Dunta White, a resident of Harris County, claims that H Town Vape Inc., the vape shop where he bought the allegedly defective lithium-ion battery, and LG Chem Ltd., the Korean electronics company that made the battery, are liable for the injuries that the exploding e-cigarette caused. When ... Read More

OSHA Alliance Focuses on Safety of Women Construction Workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said it has renewed its alliance with the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), launching another five-year pact “to continue promoting safe and healthful working conditions for female construction workers.” OSHA’s alliance with NAWIC is part of the OSHA Alliance Program, which couples the resources and expertise of the federal agency with those of various organizations and institutions committed to improving workplace safety and protecting the rights of workers. The alliance will focus on hazards that are specific to women construction workers or are of particular importance to them, such as personal ... Read More

Measles Exposures Possible at Two Major U.S. airports, Health Officials Warn

Public health officials are warning air passengers and others who passed through two major U.S. airports of a potential exposure to measles due to infected international travelers. Airport authorities at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport have reported passengers that may have spread the measles virus to other people in the airport. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), anyone who visited O’Hare on the morning or afternoon of Wednesday, Jan. 10 and who has not had a measles vaccination may need to be tested after a passenger with a confirmed case of the highly ... Read More