Tagged Articles

Negligence 86 articles

Father of NYC firefighter killed on the job says he will boycott trial

The father of a firefighter killed in a New York City high rise inferno says he plans to boycott the forthcoming trial of the men the District Attorney’s office blames for the deaths. Firefighters Joseph Graffagnino Jr., 33, of Brooklyn, and Robert Beddia, 53, of Staten Island, died while fighting a fire that broke out in the Deutsche Bank building, which had been heavily damaged in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and vacated. Deconstruction of the 41-story bank building began in March 2007 and continued until a fire broke out on the 17th story on August 18 ... Read More

BP readying itself for unprecedented government fines for oil spill

On August 12, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced BP finally agreed to pay a record $50.6-million fine for safety violations that led to the 2005 explosion at its Texas City, Texas, refinery that killed 15 workers and injured 170 others. Now, in the wake of its oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, BP faces federal fines that will make the Texas City penalties look like pocket change. According to U.S. law, oil companies must pay penalties of up to $1,100 per barrel of oil accidentally spilled. However, if the oil spill was caused by a company’s gross ... Read More

Government says BP spilled 4.9 million barrels of oil into Gulf

Now that BP has temporarily plugged the oil spill and remains confident that a successful permanent plug is within reach, federal scientists estimate 4.9 million barrels of oil have gushed into the Gulf since April 22. The calculation makes BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill the largest in history, far surpassing Mexico’s 1979 Ixtoc spill, which released 3.3 million barrels into the Gulf. Government analysts believe the spill began more powerfully than it ended, releasing about 62,000 barrels of oil per day and gradually weakening as the weeks passed to about 53,000 barrels a day. A diminishing reservoir of hydrocarbons feeding ... Read More

OSHA hits U.S. Postal Service with hefty fines for endangering workers

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited the U.S. Postal Service for workplace safety violations involving electrical safety hazards found at a Pittsburgh mail processing facility. OSHA proposed penalties of $299,500 for the violations. An employee complaint prompted the inspections, which OSHA launched in October 2009. Inspectors later cited the Postal Service with four willful violations incurring a fine of $265,000, two serious violations with a penalty of $9,500, and one repeat violation carrying a fine of $25,000. OSHA Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. David Michaels said the Postal Service demonstrated a “blatant disregard ... Read More

Witness tells CBS BP ignored blowout risks and dangers

While BP was wrapping up its drilling operations miles beneath the Deepwater Horizon, a simple thought as to how much lies at stake for the environment could have prevented the oil spill catastrophe. But rather than think in terms of environmental protections or even worker safety, BP thought only about money and how to save it when it made its disastrous decisions on how to plug the drill column 45 miles off the Louisiana coast. To complete the well, BP hired Halliburton to insert 3 concrete plugs in the pipe that stretched 3 miles under the seabed. A Transocean manager ... Read More

Feds eye Halliburton as investigations of Gulf oil disaster move forward

With federal investigations into the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon underway, more and more attention is being shifted to Halliburton, the oil-services corporation hired by British Petroleum (BP) to cement the wellhead from which hundreds of thousands of crude oil are spouting every day. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Halliburton workers had completed filling the gap between the pipe and the sides of the drill hole with cement and had started plugging the well temporarily when a blowout explosion likely occurred. Investigators haven’t determined whether Halliburton completed the cementing when the blast occurred. According to the Wall Street Journal, ... Read More

Public health and safety often sacrificed for pro-business legislation

What’s good for business isn’t always good for the average American taxpayer. Ken Sobel, a civil attorney and a member of the Florida Justice Association’s Board of Directors, recently wrote an editorial for South Florida’s Sun-Sentinel, calling attention to a number of bills pending in the Florida legislature that favor corporate interests at the expense of public safety and taxpayer money. According to Sobel, in the bills currently being considered by the Florida legislature, “corporate responsibility gets reduced, people get injured, and the state’s tax payers are being called upon to pay for the increased medical expenses that will follow.” One ... Read More

Former Toyota lawyer claims car company covered up safety issues

It was a stress-induced nervous breakdown that convinced Dimitrios Biller to leave his job in 2007 as top in-house defense attorney for Toyota. He says he just couldn’t continue fighting for the car company in product liability and negligence lawsuits when he believed the company was performing “criminal acts” by withholding information it was legally required to turn over to plaintiffs’ attorneys during litigation. When he left, he took about 6,000 memos, e-mails and other internal documents that he calls “very damaging” to the car company once recognized for its outstanding customer care. The documents reference “Books of Knowledge,” highly ... Read More

Toyota will make brake override system standard in all US vehicles

Toyota Motor Corp. will install a new brake override system in all of its newly built vehicle models in North America by the end of 2010, said the company’s highest ranking U.S. Executive Yoshimi Inaba. The new braking system (sometimes called a “smart pedal” or “smart throttle”) will be commanded by software that shifts the engine to idle when it detects the driver is attempting to brake while the vehicle is accelerating. The brake override will work when the vehicle is traveling at a moderate or high speed and the driver applies the brake and accelerator pedals simultaneously. The software then ... Read More

Toyota says it mishandled unintended acceleration problem

Yoshi Inaba, Toyota’s highest ranking executive in the United States, says that his company’s latest recall of millions of vehicles has taught Toyota some valuable lessons. Speaking to an audience gathered at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Inaba seemed eager to hit the re-set button with the American public through admission of Toyota’s past errors. Last September, Toyota and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall of millions of Lexus and Toyota vehicles that have the potential to accelerate suddenly and unintentionally. After nearly two years of denying reports of unintended acceleration problems, Toyota finally issued a recall ... Read More