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Big Dig glue company charged with manslaughter.

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edbermac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-08-07 04:08 PM
Original message
Big Dig glue company charged with manslaughter.
BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP) -- The company that provided the epoxy blamed in the fatal Big Dig tunnel collapse was indicted Wednesday in the death of a motorist crushed by ceiling panels. Powers Fasteners Inc., was charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter, Attorney General Martha Coakley said. The Brewster, New York-based firm was the only company involved in the construction and design of the tunnel to be indicted by the Suffolk County grand jury, Coakley said.

A report from the National Transportation Safety Board released last month found the July 10, 2006, collapse could have been avoided if designers and construction crews had considered that the epoxy holding support anchors for the panels could slowly pull away over time.

Milena Del Valle, 39, was killed when 26 tons of concrete panels and hardware came crashing down from a tunnel ceiling onto her car as she and her husband drove through the westbound I-90 connector tunnel. Her husband crawled out of the rubble with minor injuries.

Prosecutors said Powers Fasteners knew the type of epoxy it marketed and sold for the nearly $15 billion project was unsuitable for the weight it would have to hold, but never told project managers.
"They failed to make that distinction clear," said Paul Ware, hired as a special investigator by Coakley. The company did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The maximum penalty for a company charged with manslaughter in Massachusetts is $1,000. Coakley said there may need to be changes in the law, saying the criminal statute may be "wholly inadequate."

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/08/08/dig.indictment.ap/index.html

$1000 max for corporate manslaughter?? There MAY need to be changes in the law??
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-08-07 04:14 PM
Response to Original message
1. No shit!
"$1000 max for corporate manslaughter?? There MAY need to be changes in the law??"

Well, those that engage in corporate manslaughter mean well.
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RC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-08-07 04:16 PM
Response to Original message
2. What in the hell were they thinking in the first place???
Edited on Wed Aug-08-07 04:17 PM by RC
Gluing that kind of weight to the ceiling? Gluing? What was wrong with using support from below?
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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-09-07 01:05 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. They were trying to reduce the amount of digging they'd have to do
Say you're trying to get 15 feet of clearance in the tunnel. If the roadbed is a foot thick, and the ceiling is a foot thick, you've got to dig a tunnel 17 feet high to get the clearance you want--AND you have to glue the ceiling up. But if the ceiling is three feet thick because you've got two-foot-high ceiling joists, your tunnel becomes 19 feet high, your digging expenses go up dramatically and you've probably got to go down--closer to groundwater--because there are pipes and electrical cabling above the tunnel.

Adhesive systems work really well if you use them as they're designed. But they're made to hold things DOWN, not hold them UP.
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-08-07 04:22 PM
Response to Original message
3. Who could have forseen that glue wouldn't be able to hold 26 tons
of crap against the force of gravity forever?
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-08-07 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Just think of the money they saved! nt
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-08-07 06:28 PM
Response to Original message
5. Highest UK fine to date
Edited on Wed Aug-08-07 06:29 PM by edwardlindy
was 15.000.000 which is currently c. $30.000.000 against Transco but they got off the actual corporate manslaughter charge on appeal. All such stuff comes under the UK's Health and Safety at Work Act.

edit - and by the way fines are not allowable against tax here. Is that the same in the USA ?
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dorkulon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-09-07 01:17 AM
Response to Original message
7. Hooray for tort reform!
:sarcasm:
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Beerboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-09-07 01:24 AM
Response to Original message
8. $1000 USD? I heard this also on the radio earlier, but thought
I heard wrong.
$1000 can't be the maximum economic hit here, perhaps it's the most the State of Massachusetts can collect, as they contracted with this company, but payment of same would acknowledge liability on the part of PFI, opening them up to millions in damages in a civil lawsuit.
I'm sure Power Fasteners Inc. is going to be coughing up a lot more than $1000 when all is said and done.
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