When a Norfolk Southern train wreck caused a toxic chlorine spill in the mill town of Graniteville, the Avondale textile company’s flagship canvas plant had to be closed for eight days for safety reasons. The company closed its doors for good in May 2006 after experts determined it would have cost more than the business was worth to clean the buildings and replace the machinery.
Now the textile company wants the railroad to pay $420 million in damages.
Attorneys for Norfolk Southern said Avondale had already seen the writing on the wall in the failing American textile industry when the crash occurred. The attorneys acknowledge that the railroad is to blame for the crash, but a payout of $110 million is more in line with the value of Avondale Mills.
Two recent awards in retirement securities arbitrations are bringing hope to retirees who have disputes with brokerage firms that gambled away their retirement funds. The first, in the case of Cain v. Securities America, concerns a retiree whose hard-earned savings were liquidated in favor of more aggressive investments. After an extensive arbitration process, the petitioner was awarded nearly $4 million in compensatory damages, another $3 million in punitive damages designed to punish the securities companies, and nearly $2.5 million to offset legal fees and costs.
The second case, May v. Intersecurities, Inc., involved IRA rollover accounts that were placed into high-variable annuities that proved risky, unsuitable to the retiree’s objectives, and ultimately worthless, producing no investment income whatsoever and losing the funds that had been promised to sustain the petitioner throughout retirement. May was eventually awarded nearly $1.7 million in compensatory damages and half a million dollars in punitive damages.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal points out a strategy that has given victims of the subprime loan crisis new hope: using the 1921 Martin Act as a legal tool to crack down on misleading mortgage-backed securities offerings. Why is the Act so powerful? Simple: it takes away the burden for a plaintiff to prove intent to defraud, making filing a lawsuit against an unethical securities company that much easier for plaintiffs.
Driving while impaired. Felony hit-and-run. Open container in vehicle. Driving with a revoked license. Felony speeding to elude arrest. Running a stop sign. Any one of these violations could result in a brush with law enforcement.
An interesting debate on South Carolina speed limits is heating up the pages of the Charleston Post and Courier. A recent editorial on speeding prompted community response from readers who debate speed limits, enforcement of limits, and lack of driver education.
A week after the fires at the Imperial Sugar Co. plant in Port Wentworth started, firefighters finally managed to douse the last remnants of the refinery blast, but not before another victim was pronounced dead. Seven other people have been found dead in the rubble at the Imperial Sugar Co. plant, bringing the death toll to eight, while one worker remained missing.