Ithaca, N.Y. — Voice readers wanted to know: Will a federal agency’s crackdown on the trucking company involved in the Simeon’s crash affect lawsuits against the company?
The short answer: No.
That’s according to several lawyers with knowledge of the civil cases that arose after the June 20 crash of a tractor-trailer into Simeon’s on the Commons. The crash killed one Simeon’s employee, Amanda Bush, and injured other people who were inside at the time.
One of the injured, a Simeon’s employee named Martin Waisbrot, filed a lawsuit against the driver of the rig and the company that owned it, Quality Relocation Services, Inc., of Spokane WA. The owners of Cornell Barbershop also have filed a separate suit because of the extensive damage to their business.
As The Voice reported last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ordered the company to cease interstate and intrastate hauling, effective Oct. 6, after investigating the company’s safety and inspection history. The Simeon’s crash prompted that investigation.
Since that report, some readers have asked: What happens to any lawsuits filed against the company?
The local law firm of Littman & Babiarz is representing Waisbrot and his wife in their lawsuit against Quality Relocation and the driver.
The FMCSA action should have no impact on the lawsuit, according to Peter Littman, a partner in the firm.
“We’ve seen evidence that there is insurance in place,” Littman said, adding that there may be additional sources of insurance, and that part of the preparation phase in the lawsuit is to search for those. The federal agency’s decision to revoke operating authority for the company would not affect whatever insurance is in force, he said.
(Waisbrot’s injuries and complaint were detailed in an earlier Voice story.)
Though the FMCSA ordered the company to cease hauling operations that it regulates, Quality Relocation Services Inc. remains a listed “active” cooperation in Washington state as of Monday, according to records on file in the Secretary of State’s office there.