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On December 30, 2012 a tour bus crashed on the highway near Pendleton, Oregon. Since then the accident has prompted numerous lawsuits and investigations. The Tour bus company that operated the bus that killed nine and injured a number of other people, is facing another lawsuit from a group of survivors and the estates of two dead passengers.
This latest lawsuit was filed earlier within the week in an Oregon court by the ten survivors and the estates of the two people that died in the crash. The group is seeking damages that could total more than $700 million.
The 22 page statement of the claim, repeats previous allegations that the bus driver was speeding, not driving safely for the road conditions, and was working without adequate sleep.
Mi Joo was negligent “in requiring the defendant, Haeng Kyu Hwang (the tour bus diver) to drive for excessive periods of time throughout the tour, such that he was fatigued and likely to exercise poor judgement.”
The lawsuit also claims that the company failed to properly equip the bus for the winter driving conditioning. They also did not properly train or supervise the driver. It also claims that the Oregon State government and it’s Transportation Department neglected to keep the highway safe and wasn’t properly cleared of the snow.
However, the company’s lawyer, Mark Scheer insists that the driver did have enough rest and blames the crash on black ice. He also thinks that the new lawsuit is just a publicity stunt since it was conveniently filed a week before the year anniversary of the accident.
Mark Scheer states:
We’re disappointed in the timing of the lawsuit, as it seems very unfortunate to have filed this on the eve of the one-year anniversary of this very unfortunate accident.
The accident happened on Interstate 84 along the section known as “Deadman’s Pass.” The driver then lost control of the bus, which made the bus leave the highway and plunged around 60 meters down a steep embankment. Which, tragically ended up killing 9 people and more than three dozen people were injured.
The next day the United States Department of Transportation pulled the Mi Joo Tour and Travel’s authority to operate in the United States. Then not even two weeks later, the B.C. government suspended Mi Joo’s operations after a safety audit found the company kept inadequate records. They failed to properly monitor how long their drivers were being the wheel.
This case/crash has trigger at least three other lawsuits against the company. Most of the allegation in those lawsuits focus on the length of the time the driver had worked without rest. Also that the drivers were travelling too fast and ignored warnings about the road conditions. However, none of these allegations in any of the lawsuits have been proven in court yet.
Daniel A. Gibalevich
DAG Law Firm
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