Fatal Philadelphia Duckboat Crash Settled for $17 Million

Though it walks two worlds, it is a master of none

A duckboat is a particular kind of bus that can travel by both land and sea.  Typically seen in cities like Philadelphia and Boston, which have prominent and accessible rivers, the boat/bus hybrid is particularly useful for tour companies, the novelty of amphibious sightseeing being extremely attractive to tourists.  Rarely do these duckboats cause a problem.  Their pre-planned and short water routes don’t get in the way of bigger ships, and on land they operate just like normal buses.  Back in July 2010, however, bad luck and negligence conspired conspired to end this reputation of relative safety.  A duckboat stalled in the water.  A tugboat captain pushing a barge turned down his emergency radio and looked away to answer a phone call.  The two vessels — one helpless, one aimless — collided.  The duck boat tumbled underneath the barge, bringing two Hungarian tourists to a watery grave.  Yesterday, after two years of negotiations and court maneuvering, lawyers associated with the case announced that they had reached a settlement with the tug- and duckboat companies.

Read more

Blind Woman Struck by Car Receives $200,000 Settlement

Cannot see

The Star-Ledger reports today that a settlement has been reached for the blind Morristown, NJ woman who was hit by a car two years ago.  Chistina Brino was walking her seeing eye dog when she was hit by a Morris county employee driving a county-issued car.  The employee, a former assistant prosecutor, made a right hand turn outside of the county courthouse, of all places, when he struck Brino, fracturing her kneecap and dislocating her knee.  The dog was uninjured.

This news hits close to home for lawyer.com, which is located in Morris County.  The Seeing Eye, the oldest guide dog training center in the world, is headquartered in Morristown, and their dogs come primarily from a breeding center in nearby Chester.  It’s not uncommon to encounter the young dogs in training around Morristown.  Being a small city, the dogs learn all they need about crossing streets and the danger of traffic.  In fact, there’s a statue of a Seeing Eye dog and trainer in the middle of the main thoroughfare.  So, a 20-year county prosecutor must have been aware of the abundance of training dogs in the city, which makes this accident all the more unfortunate.