The family of a Maine commercial fisherman who was struck and killed by an Amazon delivery driver in July 2020 has filed a negligence lawsuit against the online retail giant.
In the suit filed Monday in Sagadahoc County Superior Court, Misty Fisher and her three children of Woolwich, Maine, also name the driver, Nasser Tibaijuka of Waltham, Massachusetts, and several affiliated trucking companies with a history of safety violations.
The suit claims Amazon knew or should have known Tibaijuka and the trucking entities it contracted with to deliver its packages were unsafe.
Court documents claim Midnight Trucking, Midnight Transportation, Merrimack Transportation and Arafat Logistics, the “Midnight entities,” all headquartered in Lowell, Massachusetts, and Nashua, New Hampshire, were likely a “chameleon carrier” that reincarnated and set up new trucking companies after the previous one racked up several federal safety violations.
James Kihiko, listed as the primary principal of the Midnight entities, declined FreightWaves’ request to comment on the suit when reached by telephone.
Amazon spokesperson Maria Boschetti provided the following statement about the negligence lawsuit: “While our deepest sympathies are with Mr. Fisher’s family, because litigation has just been initiated, we’re not in a position to offer any comment right now.”
Around 6 a.m. on July 3, court filings claim Tibaijuka was “distracted by his cellphone” when his box truck full of Amazon packages swerved and struck Joseph Fisher, who was attending to his boat trailer, “throwing him into the air and down the highway” on Interstate 295 near Topsham, Maine. He died 10 days later.
Fisher’s wife and children were in a nearby vehicle and witnessed the fatal crash. The lawsuit claims the children continue to suffer emotional distress.
Tibaijuka is serving a 10-month prison sentence after pleading guilty in September 2021 to a felony charge of driving to endanger and causing serious bodily injury, according to the Portland Press Herald.
Court records claim Tibaijuka, who is from Uganda, obtained a B-2 tourist visa in August 2018 and was working as a truck driver for one of Kihiko’s trucking companies, contracted to Amazon to deliver its packages, on the day of the crash.
Court filings state that a day after Tibaijuka was indicted by a grand jury in October 2020, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement took him into custody, where he remained until sentencing.
Attorney James O’Connell, who is representing the Fisher family, says Amazon is putting profits over safety.
“For the sake of public safety, Amazon is required to ensure the trucking companies it hires are safe, and yet here, Amazon repeatedly used a trucking company with a known dangerous safety record,” O’Connell said in a statement. “The tragic result was the death of a father and husband right in front of his family. While Amazon continues to thrive as usual, the Fisher family will never be the same.”
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