Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Court Lets Parent Company of Two Dead Workers Off the Hook

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago has decided that a company whose subsidiary killed two workers cannot be held criminally liable even thought it had taken responsibility for the safety programs of its subsidiaries. I have written extensively before about the deaths of Blake Lane, 20, on a 120-foot steel tower in Mt. Prospect, Illinois and Wade Cumpston, 43, a veteran lineman from Ashland, Ky., who died March 25, 2000, while working on a high-voltage transmission tower in Plainfield, IL. Lane and Cumpston worked for L.E. Myers Co., a subsidiary of MYR.

The Justice Department, at OSHA's request, had attempted to prosecute MYR. The court found that indictment of MYR Group "was an unacceptable attempt to broaden the Occupational Safety and Health Act."
[Defense lawyers Joseph] Duffynoted the ruling was the third to decide that MYR Group could not have committed a crime under the law.

"It's unfortunate the company had to endure the public humiliation and economic consequences of an indictment," Duffy said.
Poor babies.