Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman Bus Accident Media Excerpts
"The Nation's leading school bus damage suit litigator" The Chicago Sun Times
School Official Offers Bus Plan–Superintendent Gives Proposal for Improvements; Pupil’s Parents Consider Litigation in January Death
. . . Meanwhile the parents of [the little girl] are seeking answers on their own. They have hired a California law firm [Baum Hedlund] that specializes in litigating transportation accidents to help them learn more about what happened.
. . . [Our client said] “Our attorneys are helping us write (state) laws and find answers: that’s our main concern.”
. . . The [family’s] counsel has asked to examine the 1987 International school bus involved in the incident and to have access to all records about the vehicle and to any information pertaining to the training and personnel records of the driver. The Augusta Chronicle
Lawyers Pursue Bus Crash Data
Burlington, Iowa (AP) – The widow of a man killed in an October accident with a Burlington school bus has hired lawyers, indicating she plans to seek damages from the school district.
Superintendent . . . was asked in a Jan. 22 letter from lawyers at a Washington law firm to provide their investigators access to the bus.
Baum, Hedlund...was hired by [the widow]. Attorneys for [the widow] have asked the district to keep bus maintenance records and other information. ...
Relatives To Sue Over Unlawful Killing of Coach Crash Tourists
Nine American tourists who died in a coach crash on the M2 in Kent were killed unlawfully, an inquest jury decided yesterday in a verdict that is certain to have far reaching repercussions. The jury reached a 9:1 decision after hearing that the coach’s anti lock brakes were not working, a light that should have warned the driver of the fault had been defective for days and a speed limiting device had been switched off.
Paul Hedlund . . . said: “It’s a sure bet that this will end in civil litigation in the US.” He is working on “contingency fees” which will give him a quarter of any damages awarded to his clients or nothing if they lose their claim.
. . . Mr. Hedlund said: “My clients did their negotiations for the trip in the US, paid for the trip in the US, carried the damages they suffered back to the US and have to live with it every single day in the US.
Lawsuits Filed in Girl Scout Bus Crash
Three lawsuits were filed yesterday in connection with the Palm Springs bus crash that killed seven people, including four Girl Scouts, and injured dozens of others, an attorney said.
. . . [Baum Hedlund] Lawyer George W. Murgatroyd III also filed federal suits on behalf of [his clients].
. . . “All steps at the manufacturing, maintenance, personnel training and driving levels ought to ensure that all our kids get to where they are going safely,” Murgatroyd said.
Court Consolidates Cases Against California in Palm Springs Crash
LOS ANGELES—At least 35 lawsuits from a 1991 crash of a school bus filled with Girl Scouts near Palm Springs, Calif., will be consolidated in state court, according to Los Angeles attorney George Murgatroyd [of Baum Hedlund], who is representing 26 of the plaintiffs. “We determined that federal court was not the proper venue (for our cases),” Murgatroyd told STN in June. “Primarily because the State of California can’t be sued in federal court. And it was the state, along with its agencies such as the Winter Park Authority, that were responsible for the maintenance of the road. You can’t sue the state in federal court. If you’re going after the state, you have to be in state court.” Murgatroyd said that those plaintiffs who chose not to sue the state were free to pursue their claims in federal court.
Murgatroyd’s motion to have the cases filed against the state consolidated and assigned to only one judge was granted September 1. [Mayflower’s attorney] said the motion simply consolidated the cases for pretrial, or discovery/deposition, purposes. But Murgatroyd said the ruling was contradictory because the suits were also deemed “complex litigation,” meaning the cases were assigned to the one judge who will ultimately resolve them, Judge H. Morgan Dougherty.
It is unknown how the choice of venue will affect the outcome of the lawsuits, but Murgatroyd, for one, was clearly pleased with the court’s decision.
“The court designated the case as complex litigation,” he said after the ruling. “This means everything will go to one judge for disposition. . . .”
“Of course I’m happy with the ruling. It was my motion.” Murgatroyd said that he expects the trial to begin next April.
When it Pays to Be American. Legal Action in the US is Prompting Calls for a Review of English Law.
Paul Hedlund told The Times: “My clients did their negotiations for the trip in the US, paid for the trip in the US, carried the damages they suffered back to the US and have to live with it every single day in the US. Natural justice demands that any assessment of their damages should be made under US laws.”
[Two of our clients] were in the front row of the coach full of American tourists which crashed on the M2 in Kent last November.
. . . Now they are in the forefront of a multi million dollar legal action; not in Britain but in America. Though the coach was made in Germany, operated by the Travellers Coach Company of Hounslow, West London, driven by an Englishman and crashed on an English motorway, they are seeking damages in the United States. Their example will be followed by other survivors and relatives of the dead tourists.
. . . Back home in Virginia, they were recommended to Paul Hedlund, an attorney with [Baum & Hedlund], a firm renowned for getting good results in disaster cases. The firm is representing a dozen survivors and relatives of four people who died, working on contingency fees which give it a quarter of the total damages awarded to its clients or nothing if they lose their claim.
Mr. Hedlund’s task was made easier by a full and revealing inquest in Dover earlier this year which concluded that the tourists were killed unlawfully. The jury heard that the coach’s anti lock brakes did not work, a light which should have warned the driver of the fault had been defective for days and a device designed to limit the coach’s speed had been switched off. The verdict encouraged Mr. Hedlund to sue for punitive damages.
. . . Mr. Hedlund said: “If we succeed with our action for punitive damages, the jury can take into consideration the net worth of a company and that could lead to an award of millions and millions of dollars.”
Unsafe Traffic in Some Countries Could Put Tourists on Road to Ruin
. . . Turkey isn’t the only nation targeted for a tourist boycott as a result of a highway accident. A Los Angeles law firm representing relatives of six Americans killed in a tour bus crash on the road from Cancun to the Mayan ruin of Chichen Itza in Mexico are calling for a boycott of Cancun until survivor insurance benefits are paid. “Callous treatment of Americans should not be condoned,” says . . . the law offices of [Baum & Hedlund].
In the Jan. 3, 1993 accident, a tour bus filled with 54 tourists “swerved to avoid a car and overturned, slamming into a high voltage electricity transformer.” ...Twenty five people, including 18 Americans, were killed. Everyone else suffered injuries. Mexican authorities reportedly have blamed the accident on the driver’s “excessive speed and a lack of caution.” The driver is believed to have fled the scene and has not been found..