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Last unresolved lawsuit from Continental Flight 3407 crash headed to trial

One wrongful death lawsuit stemming from the crash of Continental Airlines Flight 3407 in Clarence Center, New York, has not been resolved, and the case appears to be headed to trial in the coming months. Flight 3407 crashed on Feb. 12, 2009, as the twin-turbo prop airplane was making its final approach to Buffalo Niagara International Airport. The crash killed all 49 people aboard the airplane and one person on the ground — 61-year-old Doug Wielinski, who was at home with his wife and daughter when the airplane hit his house. It’s the Wielinski family’s lawsuit that remains unresolved out ... Read More

700,000 Ford vehicles recalled for airbags, door closure defects

Ford Motor Co. has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) it is recalling 692,700 vehicles to correct defects affecting air bag deployment and door handles that may stick or open on their own. According to NHTSA data, 627,700 model-year 2013 and 2014 Escape SUVs will be included in two separate recalls, the first of which will repair side curtain airbags that may not deploy in certain rollover accidents. The problem stems from the airbag supplier reversing the airbag controller’s polarity. In a crash, the problem could mean the airbag may not deploy as “as quickly as intended.” The ... Read More

NHTSA reconsidering how it publicizes automaker fines

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is considering changes in the way it publicizes penalties against auto manufacturers after it failed to publicize collecting millions of dollars in fines from Ford Motor Company for its failure to notify agency regulators in a timely manner of a safety defect in some of its sport utility vehicles. NHTSA officials launched a preliminary investigation on July 17, 2012 of Ford Escape SUVs made in 2001-2004, following consumer complaints of poorly performing accelerator pedals. Eight days later, Ford notified the NHTSA that it planned to recall more than 423,000 of the Escape models. ... Read More

Ford issues urgent recall of some 2013 Ford Escape SUVs

In an extremely rare and unusual warning, Ford Motor Co. told owners of certain 2013 Ford Escape SUVs in the U.S. and Canada to stop driving their vehicles immediately due to the risk of a faulty fuel line creating an engine fire. The recall involves about 11,500 model-year 2013 Ford Escape SUVs with 1.6-liter engines sold in the U.S. and Canada. Ford said that most of the new vehicles remain on dealership lots, while about 5,000 are being driven by consumers. According the car maker, a fuel line in the engine compartment is susceptible to splitting and leaking fuel, which ... Read More

Toyota recalling more Tacomas for drive shaft defect

Toyota Motor Corp. announced another recall Friday of 8,000 Tacoma pickup trucks to inspect the front drive shaft, which may contain cracks in the joint portion. The recall is limited to certain model year 2010 four-wheel-drive Tacomas. Toyota said that the defective parts were the result of an “improper manufacturing process control.” The company chose to recall vehicles containing the possibly defective component after the manufacturer, Dana Holding Corp., reported the parts to U.S. safety regulators saying they could have cracks. 34,000 of the drive shaft components were used in Toyota, Nissan, and Ford vehicles. Dana said that it is ... Read More

Chrysler, GM bankruptcy deals strip victims of legal recourse

Dozens of accident victims and their lawyers made their way to Washington, DC, and the halls of Capitol Hill last week, urging lawmakers and the Obama administration to protect their ability to pursue medical claims against Chrysler and General Motors. In a May 31 ruling, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Arthur Gonzalez overruled objections lodged by the Ad Hoc Committee of Consumer-Victims of Chrysler LLC and other consumer groups when he approved the sale of Chrysler to Italy’s Fiat, free and clear of outstanding legal claims against the U.S. car manufacturer. Gonzalez effectively ruled that only liabilities that promote Fiat’s commercial ... Read More

Working conditions may have contributed to Colgan air crash

When one thinks of commercial airline pilots, one doesn’t ordinarily think of working part-time at a coffee shop, living with mom and dad, sleeping on crew lounge couches, and making $16,000 per year. But at that rate of pay, what other options are there? That was the life of Rebecca Shaw, first officer of Continental Connection flight 3407, which crashed after stalling in skies above Buffalo, New York. Tuesday we wrote that the National Transportation Safety Board was focusing its investigations on how much training and experience Captain Marvin Renslow had and whether he was competent enough to pull the ... Read More

IIHS puts first 12 vehicles through new roof crush rating system

In February, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety raised the bar on the auto industry, announcing that it would require automobiles to withstand 4 times their own weight in a static roof crush test to qualify as contenders for the institute’s highest vehicle safety ranking. The test, also known as strength-to-weight ratio, has made the IIHS “Top Safety Pick” rating a little harder to earn. But that is good news for the consumer, as the auto industry covets good IIHS grades. Car manufacturers generally will work harder and make the improvements they need to make in order to earn higher ... Read More

Chimp owner and state of Connecticut may be held liable for attack

Legal experts say that a woman whose pet chimpanzee attacked and mutilated her best friend could face a civil law suit. The state of Connecticut may also face a lawsuit for failing to take action. 55-year-old Charla Nash of Stamford, Conn. suffered extensive debilitating injuries to her face and hands when her friend’s chimp attacked her unexpectedly. Nash had arrived at her friend’s house to help her lure the chimp back inside the house when she was attacked outside of the house. Nash required more than seven hours of surgery by four teams of doctors. She remains in critical condition ... Read More

FEMA Trailers Toxic

On May 25, MSNBC reported that investigation continues in cases of illness resulting from FEMA trailers provided to evacuees from 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. Formaldehyde was detected in the travel trailers and mobile homes in unusually high levels, and about 17,000 people are claiming the homes caused illnesses for themselves or loved ones. This report was written by MSNBC’s Spencer S. Hsu. WASHINGTON – Within days of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in August 2005, frantic officials at the Federal Emergency Management Agency ordered nearly $2.7 billion worth of trailers and mobile homes to house the storm’s victims, many of them using a ... Read More