After BP spilled 4.1 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the U.S. government cited BP with multiple violations of the Clean Water Act. At this time, it is being reported that negotiations between U.S. officials and BP may be coming to a close soon. The amount of a potential settlement is unknown, but the government has requested BP pay around $4,300 per barrel in fines, which amounts to more than 17 billion dollars. Here is an article from Bloomberg News.
Posts Tagged ‘Justice’
Today, the Senate confirmed Elena Kagan as the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice. The vote total was 63-37. Justice Kagan will serve on the country’s highest court with two other female justices. In terms of access to justice and consumer protection issues, it is presumed by most, but not really known publicly, that Justice Kagan will be a strong advocate for the civil justice system. If so, she will appropriately replace one of the Supreme Court’s greatest plaintiff/consumer advocates, Justice John Paul Stevens.
On October 12, 2007, 34 vehicles crashed inside a tunnel along I-5 in Southern California. A diesel tanker spilled fuel onto the freeway which exploded. Three people died. Although the California Highway Patrol completed their accident investigation fairly quickly–and assigned responsibility to speeding drivers, including a trucking company using faulty brakes–the three surviving families have not recovered a dime for their losses. One of the dead, an entrepreneur carefully driving his recently purchased tractor-trailer on the slick roads, left a young family behind in dire financial straits. Tragically, the defense seems to be able to avoid paying money to help make up for the losses of these families by taking advantage of the sheer number of people involved in the crash and related pressures on the court system. Here is an L.A. Times article discussing the matter: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-tobar-20100618,0,4762224,full.column
U.S. Senate Will Hold Confirmation Hearings on Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan Before August RecessTuesday, May 18th, 2010
Voice of America reports that Senator Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, plans to complete confirmation hearings for President Obama’s most recent Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, prior to the early August recess scheduled for the Senate. (See http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/usa/US-Senate-Prepares-for-Kagan-Hearings-93892229.html).
Senate confirmation of Supreme Court nominees is required by the Constitution. Most expect the hearings to conclude with confirmation of Ms. Kagan to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. Justice Stevens is known as one of the strongest proponents of civil rights and liberties, including the right to trial by jury that is the cornerstone of every personal injury and wrongful death case. Many assumed that President Obama would pick a like-minded Justice to replace the outgoing Stevens. However, it is not apparent from the existing record where the future Justice Kagan stands on public access to the civil justice system. Therefore, we will closely watch the Senate Confirmation Hearings to learn more about where Ms. Kagan stands on issues affecting the right to a civil jury trial.
So far on this first Monday in May, there are no reported developments in the investigation of last week’s deadly Trimet bus accident. As an attorney experienced in dealing with investigations of catastrophic accidents involving Trimet, I am as curious as the next Oregonian as to what the investigation will reveal. If the killed and injured pedestrians and their families have grounds to seek justice in a Multnomah County Court, we all should know soon. At least we all have a vested interest in knowing if our public transportation is taking the necessary steps to keep us safe and prevent needless tragedies.
Toyota Motor Corp. and the U.S. Government have agreed that Toyota will pay a $16.4 million fine related to not disclosing defects in accelerator pedals. According to the Associated Press, the fine amounts to “a little more than $2 for every vehicle the company sold around the globe in 2009.” However, the money is not designated as compensation for personal injuries caused by defective accelerators. So far, Toyota has indicated it will not accept responsibility for its share of damages due to injuries caused by the accelerator defects. In order for individuals harmed by Toyota’s disregard for consumer safety to recover for their losses, individuals must continue to seek justice through the civil litigation process.