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Goodyear fined for deaths at tire plant

Posted on Friday, October 14th, 2016   

Tire manufacturer Goodyear has been fined over $1 million over the deaths of factory employees and numerous other employee safety violations at one of its plants in Danville, Virginia.

Virginia’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (VOSH) cited the company for four willful violations of safety policy, and 118 serious violations. These are tied to safety conditions at the plant, such as not following certain protocols and not having proper guarding outside of machinery. One man was killed on April 12th by drowning in equipment that contained boiling water and oil. Another employee sustained burn injuries while testing a tire curing press.

Goodyear has implemented a thorough safety review of its plant and is hoping to prevent future accidents and violations, but it clearly has a long road ahead of it.

Workplace safety is of paramount importance. Employers are required to maintain safety on their premises and train employees on how to avoid hazards associated with their jobs. If you have lost a loved one as a result of unsafe workplace conditions, you may be able to hold the employer accountable for your tragic loss. Call the Tennessee wrongful death attorneys of Pohl & Berk, LLP, at 615-277-2765 to learn more about your legal options.

Settlements announced for families of Georgia Southern students killed in accident

Posted on Thursday, May 5th, 2016   

Large settlements have been announced in the cases of the families of three Georgia Southern University students who were killed in a tragic truck accident in 2015. The lawsuits named several defendants, such as U.S. Xpress Inc. and John Wayne Johnson, the driver of the big rig that caused the accident.

The tractor-trailer driven by Johnson crashed into the back of Emily Clark’s vehicle, which was siting in traffic due to an earlier collision, on eastbound I-16 at around 5:55 a.m. on April 22, 2015. According to Brandon Peak, a member of the legal team, the driver did everything she possibly could to get out of the way after seeing the truck barreling in her direction. It appears that Johnson likely fell asleep before the accident, because there were no brake marks on the road.

The attorneys at Pohl & Berk, LLP send their condolences to the families of those injured in this accident. Too often, drivers are not held accountable for their actions and the wrongful death that results is tragic.

Negligence may have been responsible in fatal truck accident

Posted on Tuesday, February 10th, 2015   

The co-founder of Nashville cement company Nashville Ready Mix said the company ignored safety protocols, contributing to the fatal truck accident that killed 33-year-old Sergio Lopez, WSMV reported.

A cement truck owned by Nashville Ready Mix crashed into Lopez in March of 2013, resulting in his death. Donald Meadows, the company’s co-founder, claimed in a sworn deposition that the company was fully aware of brake problems in the cement truck before this accident. Despite the known maintenance issues, according to the deposition, the truck driver was told to keep driving.

Truck accidents by nature are incredibly damaging, and it is not uncommon for severe injuries or even death to result. When a truck accident occurs due to the negligent actions of the company that owns it, however, that company should be held fully accountable for its irresponsible actions.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in Nashville, the attorneys of Pohl & Berk, LLP, can help you determine who was at fault and, subsequently, may assist you in filing a suit against those responsible. Call our offices at 615-277-2765 today.

Fatal 2009 accident connected to GM ignition switch defect

Posted on Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014   

Another fatal crash likely caused by the GM defect that prompted a massive recall earlier this year has come to light, WREG reported on December 18.

Jessica Taylor, 19, and her fiancé Andrew Fortune were traveling to visit her parents for Labor Day on September 6, 2009, when she lost control of the vehicle. According to accident reports, the 2006 Chevy Cobalt veered off the road and flipped several times, ejecting and killing Taylor. As this vehicle is part of the GM recall and the airbags did not deploy, as they did not in many other wrecks associated with the defect, this accident could have been the result of the faulty ignition switch that GM kept under wraps for over a decade.

Although a GM spokesperson asserted that GM has been diligent in its attempt to alert customers of the recall, nearly half of the 2.6 million recalled vehicles have yet to be repaired.

The attorneys of Pohl & Berk, LLP, are dedicated to holding negligent car manufacturers fully accountable for any defects that result in injury or untimely death. Call our offices at 615-277-2765 today to learn about your options for legal recourse.

Fatalities continue to rise from defective Takata airbags

Posted on Friday, November 14th, 2014   

Amid civil and criminal investigations, Honda has disclosed a fifth death caused by metal shrapnel from an exploding Takata airbag, this time in Malaysia. The unnamed woman died July 27 while driving a 2003 Honda City compact car. Honda found out a month later and reported it to the Japanese government on Sept. 10 but didn’t publicly release the information in the United States until this week. It’s the first acknowledged death outside the United States, prompting an expanded recall of 170,699 vehicles in several countries around the world. So far, about 14 million vehicles have been recalled worldwide, including 11 million in the U.S.

News of the latest death follows revelations by two former Takata employees that Takata conducted secret tests on the airbags in 2004—four years earlier than it has said it first conducted tests—after learning of an Alabama woman injured by a ruptured airbag. The employees told the New York Times that Takata’s vice president for engineering, Al Bernat, requested they retrieve 50 airbags from scrapyards for tests done after hours with only key personnel involved. Inflators in two of the airbags cracked and seemed on the verge of exploding. The whistleblowers say engineers were so alarmed they immediately began developing prototypes to fix what they thought was a welding issue. But three months later, they were ordered to stop their work and destroy all data and videos related to the tests. They were also told to throw the tested airbags in the trash. Bernat explained away the results, saying the two ruptured inflators came from vehicles that had been exposed to weather that corrupted them.

Takata has danced around since the world learned of the defective airbags. It has claimed that its problems with the propellant that fuels its inflators were fixed by the early 2000s, but documents show the company continued to be plagued by quality control problems in the late 2000s, and some consumer complaints involve vehicles as new as model year 2010. Many of the recalls focus on vehicles in areas with high humidity, but all vehicles are sometimes exposed to humidity. Takata hasn’t even given a concrete reason for why the inflators rupture—at varying times, it has blamed excessive internal pressure, two different propellant manufacturing processes, and exposure to moisture.

Honda, which has been quietly recalling vehicles since 2008, has also provided shifting answers to what it knew and when. The automaker dismissed the 2004 Alabama incident as an anomaly and didn’t report it to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Regulatory filings show Honda has been aware of other injuries since at least 2008 and confirmed deaths since 2009—the year a teenage girl died after a parking lot fender bender and a mother died in front of her children on Christmas Eve—but didn’t report them to NHTSA until 2011. Two other deaths have been linked to airbag explosions, including a woman whose neck injuries were so severe that police first investigated it as a homicide, believing someone had slashed her throat.

The hidden injuries and deaths and the shady explanations by Takata and Honda prompted an outcry from congressional leaders. Takata confirmed this week that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has served it with a subpoena after two senators demanded that the justice department open a criminal investigation: “If the reports [of secret testing] are true, the company must be held accountable for the horrific deaths and injuries that its wrongdoing caused. These allegations are credible and shocking–plainly warranting a prompt and aggressive criminal probe,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) in a letter. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is also rumored to be planning a hearing that has yet to be announced.

NHTSA—which is under fire for failing to promptly investigate this defect and the GM ignition switch defect—has also opened investigations into both Honda and Takata, ordering them to produce documents by the end of this month.

$3M awarded to accident victims in Rutherford County

Posted on Friday, July 11th, 2014   

A jury in Rutherford County recently awarded almost $3 million in damages to one permanently injured and the estate of one deceased car accident victim, the Murfreesboro Post reported on July 4.

John Jackson, in his early 80’s, died several days after the accident happened. Scott Summerville, a 57-year-old Nashville resident, suffered permanent injuries from the accident.

The car accident happened in July 2011 along Interstate 24 near the Sam Ridley Parkway exit in Smyrna when Owensboro, Kentucky resident Mildred Payne lost control over his Toyota Camry. He veered off the roadway, slammed into a sign, crossed the median, and finally crashed into Jackson’s 2000 Mercedes Benz, which was headed east on I-24. Summerville was driving Jackson’s Mercedes Benz when the crash happened. All of the blame from the personal injury and wrongful death suits was placed on Payne.

If you are the victim of a car accident in Tennessee due to the negligent driving of someone else, the attorneys at Pohl & Berk, LLP, may help you pursue financial compensation. Call our offices today at 615-277-2765 to learn more.

Metro officer died in I-65 vehicular accident

Posted on Monday, May 12th, 2014   

Twenty-five-year-old Metro Police Officer Michael Petrina was killed when a motor home hit him as he was trying to attend to a minor accident along Interstate 65 on May 10, The Tennessean reported.

A recent police academy graduate, Petrina was redirecting traffic after a pickup truck flipped over as it entered the highway from Old Hickory Boulevard. 71-year-old Dean Joseph Diver’s motor home came around a curve near exit 74. When he saw the stoppage, Diver tried to maneuver between Petrina’s squad car and a Tennessee Department of Transportation truck and accidentally struck the young officer.

Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron said the District Attorney General’s Office will look into the case as soon as the investigation of the incident is complete, but as of yet no charges have been filed.

The lawyers at Pohl & Berk LLP send their deepest condolences to the friends and family who are suffering from this great loss.

Knox County train-car collision results in one fatality

Posted on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014   

On Friday, April 11 Theresa Davis, 52, of Knox County died in a collision between a car and a train. Her husband, Jack Davis, 58, remains in serious condition from the accident.

The couple was crossing the railroad tracks at Ball Camp Road when their Chevy Equinox was struck by an oncoming train. People familiar with the area mentioned that the railroad crossing in question does not have sufficient signaling. The municipality is facing criticism for not installing crossing arms at the railroad crossing.

The attorneys from Pohl & Berk, LLP understand that losing a friend or family member in an accident is a devastating event. Our condolences go out to those affected by this accident.


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