Thursday, August 09, 2007

Corporate Manslaughter Charge in Big Dig

Attorney General Martha Coakley announced yesterday that a Suffolk Grand Jury issued an indictment for involuntary manslaughter to Powers Fasteners, Inc. , the epoxy supplier, for their role in the Big Dig ceiling collapse last summer. According to Coakley, the company knew that the epoxy being used in the tunnel "was unsuitable for sustained loads, " but " the corporation did not take any steps to caution the Project managers against use of the Fast Set product for that application."

Since a corporation cannot be sent to jail, the maximum penalty under the manslaughter statute, MGL c.265, s.13, is $1000.

In Com. v. Angelo Todesco Corporation, 62 Mass. App. Ct. 599, the court briefly explains the elements required to establish corporate criminal responsibility: " To prove that a corporation is guilty of a criminal offense, the Commonwealth must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that an individual committed a criminal offense; (2) that at the time of committing the offense, the individual "was engaged in some particular corporate business or project"; and (3) that the individual had been vested by the corporation with the authority to act for it, and on its behalf, in carrying out that particular corporate business or project when the offense occurred."

According to The Boston Channel, "the company will be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on Sept. 5, 2007."