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FedEx sued over deadly California bus crash

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The mother of a 17-year-old honors student who was among 10 people killed in a fiery Northern California bus crash sued FedEx on Tuesday, alleging that its trucks have a history of catching fire.

The negligence suit that seeks $100 million in damages is the first filed in connection with the April 10 freeway crash in Orland, said A. King Aminpour, the attorney for the plaintiffs.

The suit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on behalf of Rosa Rivera, mother of Jennifer Bonilla of Los Angeles.

Northern California Bus Crash Kills at Least 10

The Dorsey High School student had earned a college scholarship. She and other teens were heading north for a free tour of Humboldt State University when the bus was struck head-on by a FedEx truck.

Dozens escaped through windows before the bus exploded into towering flames, but five students, three adult chaperones and both drivers died.

"She had her whole future before her," Aminpour said of Bonilla. "She was the first in her family to ever go to college."

The California Highway Patrol has not determined the cause of the crash 100 miles north of Sacramento.

Some witnesses reported that the FedEx truck was on fire before the crash, and the lawsuit alleges that FedEx trucks have a history of catching fire from mechanical problems, driver error or improper cargo loading.

"Our heartfelt condolences remain with everyone affected by this tragic accident," Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx Corp. said in a statement. "We remain focused on providing support to those affected and cooperating with the authorities as they conduct their investigation. This is not the time for us to discuss potential litigation."

The suit also names the estate of the FedEx driver and the bus owner, Silverado Stages, as defendants. The bus lacked adequate exit doors that would have allowed passengers to escape after the crash, the lawsuit contends.

A message seeking comment from a Silverado Stages executive after hours Tuesday was not immediately returned.

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auctionsurplus April 23 2014 at 7:16 AM

If it was a matter of Fed Ex trucks having a hostory of catching fire, then she should not be suing the driver's estate. HIS family lost a husband/father/son, etc as well and THEY will need financial help. I understand the pain of losing a child. Wiping out another family to help yourself is selfish and wrong.

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smprfitom April 23 2014 at 8:24 AM


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solo55a April 23 2014 at 7:40 AM

The bus didn't have enough exits?...all of the windows in the bus are designed to be knocked out in case of an emergency. Just push them at the bottom and they come out. Maybe the passengers rushed the door instead of using the windows.

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2 replies
sam54ct solo55a April 23 2014 at 8:13 AM

An d maybe they were being consumed by fire, given eyewitness accounts describe teens running engulfed in flames. Throw in the shock, from a high speed crash with a large truck, and it's a miralce any survived.

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steppete42 solo55a April 23 2014 at 8:21 AM

No all windows are not. There are several windows on the bus for emergency exits, but ALL of them ARE NOT designed to opened. Our church has one which I drive. There are other emergency exits on there, not all windows. Just FYI..

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tomsgrage April 23 2014 at 8:18 AM

Wonder how long after the crash she heard the ca-ching sound in her mind? I am not making light of her terrible loss, but this society of blaming the highest ability to pay for a tragic accident has to stop.

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2 replies
vfrenando tomsgrage April 23 2014 at 8:24 AM

why have to stop ?

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1 reply
gsscpprez vfrenando April 23 2014 at 8:47 AM

We need to find responsibility for such a tragedy, but not at the lawsuit amount they have filed. It only drives costs up, especially insurance rates.

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iolie45 tomsgrage April 23 2014 at 8:32 AM

Remember your statement after a loved one of yours is killed by negligence. That's what moreso needs
to stop; companies waiting until death occurs before they fix potentially lethal problems.
Then, they file bankruptcy to avoid paying out. This child was an honor student. Amount is based on
what they were doing with their life at time of death. A configuration of what they would likely have
done career wise and amount of money they would have made. Logical, FAIR, and UNDERSTANDABLE.

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3 replies
alirae78 April 23 2014 at 8:34 AM

The driver of the FedEx truck died as well. Who will his family sue?

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2 replies
gsscpprez alirae78 April 23 2014 at 8:43 AM

His estate. Yeah I know, friggin ridiculous.

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crazy ray alirae78 April 23 2014 at 8:59 AM

FedEx, of course, they're the only one's with deep pockets. The lawyer slogan is, "Somebody's got to Pay," and who better than the people who have money, whether they're guilt of anything or not.

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ajt1025 April 23 2014 at 8:14 AM

It is sad this woman lost her child in that crash. Money will not bring her daughter back, no amount of money will bring her back. This is the way of America today sue for big bucks and everything will be fine. 9 more law suits to follow.

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2 replies
greasedog ajt1025 April 23 2014 at 8:20 AM

I hear folks complain about law suits all the time. They complain. complain ,complain right up until THEY want to sue someone or some company for THEIR own loss. Sure, there are frivolous suits. But do those frivolous suits represent the whole or are they the majority? Get off your "high horse" about the concept of law suits. What would life be like without ANY redress or accountability?

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1 reply
hhplus greasedog April 23 2014 at 8:47 AM

Watch daytime TV some time and view all of the ads for attorney's. Personally, I'm suing my pencil manufacturer because it won't stay sharp.

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Jo ajt1025 April 23 2014 at 8:22 AM

Agreed. And while I'm sorry her daughter died, I don't see why I should pay for her to get tons of money. Lawyers and greed run this country.

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papawhisk April 23 2014 at 7:35 AM

My heart goes out to all victims and their families, but the latter should stay away from these ambulance-chasing lawyers who are only looking for a big cut from any possible settlement

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rkcar98 April 23 2014 at 7:33 AM

The investigation is not over as to the cause of the accident, or the cause of the fire. I would like to see the proof of Fed-Ex having a history of fires. Good luck in that, another made up defense by a fortune hunter and her Lawyer. Just what will all that money do to bring her son back????????? This was a terrible ACCIDENT and many lives were lost. At least she could wait until an investigation is complete and maybe she would be able to sue the right people.

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1 reply
Chickiepoo rkcar98 April 23 2014 at 5:50 PM

FOR: "rkcar98"....

RE: your statement:
" I would like to see the proof of Fed-Ex having a history of fires. Good luck in that, ............"

WELL then.......here ya go...... Here's a start.....and it wasn't hard to find........

" The day after the terrible crash, another FedEx driver with a smaller truck noticed smoke coming from his cargo bay. Upon investigation, he found the area ablaze. Fire investigators believe that an electrical malfunction or a chemical reaction may have caused the fire, although there is no evidence of a leak.

In February, a FedEx truck in Sweetwater, Texas, also caught fire. Later that month, another tractor trailer owned by the giant delivery company caught fire on Interstate 81 near Roanoke, Virginia, and in March, yet another FedEx truck fire shut down part of I-80 near Park City, Utah. "

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hfd120 April 23 2014 at 7:16 AM

The sharks are in the water. Sue them all and see who has the deepest pockets is apparently the name of the game

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docbobvet April 23 2014 at 8:25 AM

Fed Ex will settle because it's less costly for them to do than to litigate it.

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