Corporate Compliance

Manslaughter Case Against Company Over 'Big Dig' Accident Continues

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In an unusual and much-watched manslaughter case against one of the companies working on the controversial “Big Dig” tunnel project in Boston, a Massachusetts judge refused yesterday to dismiss the criminal charge.

Defendant Powers Fasteners Inc., which is the only contractor charged in the manslaughter case, had contended that the Massachusetts attorney general’s office could not properly prosecute the case at the same time that it is suing Powers and other companies in civil court over a July 10, 2006 tunnel collapse that killed a woman and injured her husband as they were driving underneath. But Suffolk Superior Court Judge Patrick Brady declined to dismiss the case, reports the Boston Globe.

The state argues that Powers Fasteners, which provided glue that was used to secure ceiling bolts, didn’t adequately warn other contractors that it wasn’t suitable for this application.

However, as discussed in an earlier post, president Jeffrey Powers said in a written statement in August that the Brewster, N.Y., company was “stunned beyond belief” by the manslaughter charge and believed it had been unfairly singled out for prosecution. Powers Fasteners, he said, had filled a special order for a different epoxy to be used to help secure ceiling bolts in the tunnel, and had no idea that the wrong epoxy was being used on the project for this purpose. “At no time did anyone ever tell Powers—and Powers never had reason to believe—that its Fast Set product was used in the tunnel ceiling,” he wrote.

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