Grand Daughter of Ethan Allen Victim Speaks - Amtrak Train Crash in Washington State

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November 29, 2005

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I find it interesting that Enrico Schaefer claims that money is not a factor in most lawsuits, and yet in the first sentence of his bio (ie. before he even describes his education and legal experience) he states that he has won several million-dollar lawsuits for his clients... and this is "Changing the way law is practiced..." how, exactly?

http://tcattorney.typepad.com/mission/our_staff/index.html

My husband and I picked up 9 survivors that awful day and one person that had already passed. We watched the survivors look in vein for their friends and family members. Yes, they deserve to be compensated. This is our legal system.

By the way, a couple thousand dollars in stability testing (if that) by Shoreline on the Ethan Allen would likely have prevented this accident. I won't make any comment about whether or not this money was better spent to pay your friend’s mortgage on their condo in Aruba.

People die in vein when people forget what happened. People die in vein when history repeats itself because people forget what happened. And people die in vein when responsible parties are allowed to delude themselves that they did nothing wrong, and thus fail to make the changes necessary to increase safety for others.

People die in vein when no one gets to tell the world why their mom or dad, or grandma or grandpa, was such a special person, and why the world is worse off for their death. Telling family members to carry the burden of these needless deaths inside and keep it bottled up is punishing them when they did nothing wrong. You would be surprised how many people sue simply because they want a jury, or the defendants, to listen and account for their pain.

Telling the family members of victims to walk away for this tragedy without anyone taking responsibility for an easily preventable accident, is letting the victims die in vein (although I am sure it would be much easier on your friends). I am sure the owners are in fact good people. But they need to accept their level of responsibility for what happened. And the insurance policy they have been paying on for so many years to provide compensation to those who are injured if they make a mistake hopefully will step up and do what it must in a situation like this. It is not the family members of the victims who can spare your friends financial and emotional hardship. It is their insurance company who can decide to fight, or allow Shoreline to accept the mistakes it made along the way.

Patti:

Your heartfelt comments are appreciated. However, attacking the legal system because lawyers sometimes get paid in injury litigation is like attacking Shoreline for charging customers for taking people on a cruise. The average lawyer salary is approximately $50,000 a year, despite the rot reform myths to the contrary.

It sounds so far like your good friends who own Shoreline say they did nothing wrong. How much needed change will occur in tour boat industry if people who are negligent (as Shoreline certainly was) don't even admit that they made mistakes? Litigation put seat belts and airbags in your car years or perhaps decades earlier than the auto industry would have ever done on its own. Did you know auto owners delay putting airbags in cars for over 10 years on their theory (which turned out to be dead wrong) that people would not pay for safety in their cars?

No one is saying these no doubt good people who owned Shoreline did anything on purpose, or that they intended this tragedy to occur. But they are the ones who put a clearly unseaworthy vessel on the water. They are the ones who apparently did not even offer life jackets to passengers.

Money won't bring any of these people back. But money will make sure their loved ones won't be put out of their home because they lost a loved one. Money will pay for lost benefits caused by the untimely death of those onboard. And money will create remembrance funds (for instance college) for the grandchildren of those who no longer get to have memories of grandma or grandpa. Some families will no doubt donate money to good causes, and some may even donate to increase water safety awareness. As important as any money awarded, a jury will be able to tell all those standing around saying "not my fault" who was in fact negligent and who could have prevented this tragedy.

I assume Shoreline had insurance. I hardly doubt they will suffer any financial hardship as a result of this loss. But you better believe their insurance company, if they are forced to a jury verdict, will audit all their cruise boat insured’s and make sure they comply with minimal safety standards.

But I do agree that this web site will likely do more than anything else to raise awareness, provide information and be a permanent memorial to those who died. No one should ever forget what happened on Lake George. And putting an overloaded boat on the water should never happen again.

The real tragedy is that people died and lawyers are going to make money from it. Civil lawsuits involving money do not change laws or regulations...if this law firm wants to put their education and expertise to good use than work to changes the laws and regulations of new york pro bono to prevent this from happening.....money brings no one back and the only thing that a lawsuit is going to do is cause severe finacial hardship for the owners of the shoreline....they are good people...I went to school with them and have grown up with them...not one of them is not sorry.....millions of dollars will not bring those who died back...if you proceed with the lawsuit then no they didn't die in vain....they died so lawyers could afford condos in aruba!

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