There could be a substantial torts lawsuit that comes out of the tragic death of veteran journalist Bob Simon in a car crash in New York. The driver, Abdul Reshad Fedahi, who had only one working arm after a suicide attempt, had been suspended nine times and was the source of complaints from other drivers about his erratic driving. Simon, 73, was driving in a Lincoln Town car that Fedahi, 44, crashed after grazing a Mercedes-Benz C30 in the center lane and crashing into metal poles last Wednesday.
Fedahi suffered two broken legs and a broken arm in the accident. He reportedly told police that he blacked out after being hit from behind.
Simon was not wearing a seatbelt, a common problem with passengers in taxis or car services. Simon and Fedahi both had to be cut out of the car.
Fedahi is an Afghan immigrant who previously tried to throw himself off a building. He had nine prior suspensions.
Fedahi has been fired by the company but was then rehired when new managers took over. The company is Travez Transportation, which could not face a massive lawsuit. The owner of Travez also has a financial stake in the dispatch company, Skyline Credit Ride, that CBS has used for years. Fedahi was driving on a probationary license with TLC. Fedahi began started working as a black-car driver for Skyline Credit Ride in October 2014. However, his car was owned by Travez Transportation.
The negligence in hiring and supervision would make for a classic wrongful death action based on negligence. If treated as a common carrier, the company would face an even more difficult standard but it may not be needed in this case. The history of prior incidents and complaints raise a particularly bad factual foundation for a tort case. The question is whether the car was leased by CBS and whether the network could also be sued for its own negligence in contracting with the car company. The question is whether complaints were raised with CBS about the company or the driver before the accident.
New York has a varied statute of limitations period for different types of accidents. For car accidents, the statute of limitation is three years but for wrongful death it is the more common two year period.