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Thread: Litigation

  1. #1
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    Jul 2004
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    Litigation

    2008 is the 50 year anniversary of one of the most - it not THE most - deadly school bus accidents in US history.

    2008 is the 20 year anniversary of an equally deadly church bus accident - considered by many to be a school bus accident since the bus was a recently retired school bus, only 11 years old at the time, and mostly children were itĎs passengers.

    Though the 1958 accident involved the bus plunging into water, while the 1988 accident involved fire, the two accidents were similar in many ways;

    *They both happened in rural Kentucky

    *Everyone on board both buses survived the initial collisions.

    *The bus driver was killed in both accidents - both named John.

    *They both had 27 deaths

    *They both involved entrapment, with roughly half of the passengers escaping

    *They both were the fault of one driver

    *They both had quick-acting adult passersby help some children escape

    The 1988 accident inspired a huge media frenzy, an emotional, anti capitalist book was released 6 years later, there was a flurry of lawsuits - the bus manufacturers (two companies - a coordinated build in the case of most buses) and others settled for millions of dollars, in and out of court. School bus assembly specifications were altered nationwide, including more detailed alterations for the state of Kentucky. This accident was caused by a drunk driver. (not the bus driver)

    In the 1958 accident, there was practically no sensational media attention, no books were written and NO LAWSUITS WERE FILED. This accident was caused by bus driver error, OR mechanical failure. (not enough evidence to determine exactly) No future bus specifications were altered in any way.

    My question - why the big difference in media attention and legal activity? Has society changed - is there a jackpot/pot of gold mentality concerning accidents that has arisen in 30 short years, or are people encouraged to sue by a drastically changed legal system? Is heavy legal activity a good thing in public accidents? In 1988 cable television and news were in their infancy - CNN was a fairly new thing - but the network news formats (ABC, CBS, NBC) didnít have much difference over that 30 year period in themselves, the major difference seems to be in the personalities. Worlds of difference for example, between Chet Huntley/David Brinkley(58),vs Dan Rather or Jerry Springer (88).

    Were the vast differences in reaction to these two equally gruesome accidents the result of a change in people in general, or was it more influenced by media sensationalism and ambulance chasing lawyers? IMO, itís the latter two, and itís not a good thing for society.

    ____________________________________

    (P.S. I don't mind a little fun with a few of the details of the 58 accident, with "cow creek", or "Dootney" the wrecker driver, or the bootlegger, as long as we can keep it mainly serious. Maybe Dukes of Hazard wasn't as far fetched as we thought)
    Why is it that our children can't read a Bible in school, but they can in prison?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by marc9000 View Post
    My question - why the big difference in media attention and legal activity? Has society changed - is there a jackpot/pot of gold mentality concerning accidents that has arisen in 30 short years, or are people encouraged to sue by a drastically changed legal system? Is heavy legal activity a good thing in public accidents? In 1988 cable television and news were in their infancy - CNN was a fairly new thing - but the network news formats (ABC, CBS, NBC) didnít have much difference over that 30 year period in themselves, the major difference seems to be in the personalities. Worlds of difference for example, between Chet Huntley/David Brinkley(58),vs Dan Rather or Jerry Springer (88).

    Were the vast differences in reaction to these two equally gruesome accidents the result of a change in people in general, or was it more influenced by media sensationalism and ambulance chasing lawyers? IMO, itís the latter two, and itís not a good thing for society.
    People today are, fortunately, more aware of their legal rights.

    They are no longer satisfied with the modern-day equivalent of the Marquis d'Evremond tossing a few coins out the window of his carriage as it mows down a child in the streets.

    Wrongdoers are increasingly being held responsible for their actions.

    If we tell teens in school to take responsibility for their actions, why not apply the same rule to tortfeasors? We do want a level playing field, right?

    Let's remember that the plaintiff in every civil action must prove his/her case by a preponderance of the evidence.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by chester View Post
    People today are, fortunately, more aware of their legal rights.

    They are no longer satisfied with the modern-day equivalent of the Marquis d'Evremond tossing a few coins out the window of his carriage as it mows down a child in the streets.
    So the makers of the carriage should fork over the big bucks?

    Wrongdoers are increasingly being held responsible for their actions.
    Was the bus maker a wrongdoer in the 1988 accident? The 1958 accident?

    If we tell teens in school to take responsibility for their actions, why not apply the same rule to tortfeasors? We do want a level playing field, right?
    In deaths-per-mile-traveled, school buses have been the safest form of surface transportation in the world, at least for 50 years, if not since their inception. In both these cases, drivers made mistakes. What actions did the bus makers have to be responsible for?

    Let's remember that the plaintiff in every civil action must prove his/her case by a preponderance of the evidence.
    That the bus makers were at fault is a preponderance of emotion, not evidence. This innocent person experienced a tragedy, and this huge company who happened to be nearby has plenty of money. Is it good for society if that company passes its loss to future customers? Do those customers deserve it?
    Why is it that our children can't read a Bible in school, but they can in prison?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Question Joke

    Well, the big story is the Supreme Court. President Obama has found his nominee. She is a Federal appeals judge. Sonia Sotomayor, I think her name is. A Latino woman, how about that? So, you know what that means. Ruth Bader Ginsburg no longer the hot chick on the court." --Jay Leno"History was made today when President Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the first female Hispanic justice to serve in the U.S. Supreme court. Obama said this should help keep the court from leaning too far to the white." --Jimmy Fallon

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