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Family of Woolwich man killed in 2020 crash sues Amazon and driver for wrongful death

A lawsuit filed by the family of Joseph Fisher claims Amazon knew or should have known the truck driver was unsafe.

TOPSHAM, Maine — The family of a 41-year-old Woolwich fisherman hit and killed by a truck delivering Amazon packages in 2020 is suing Amazon and the truck driver for negligence, liability, emotional distress, pre-death pain and suffering, and wrongful death.

Joseph M. Fisher was taking his family on a camping and fishing trip the morning of July 3, 2020, when he stopped on Interstate 295 to check his boat's trailer and was hit by a white box truck driven by Nasser Tibaijuka of Waltham, Massachusetts.

Fisher died 10 days later.

Fisher's wife, Misty D. Fisher, filed the suit on behalf of herself and the couple's three children, now 9, 18, and 19 years old, who witnessed the crash.

Tibaijuka was indicted for felony manslaughter in October 2020. He pleaded guilty in September 2021 to felony driving to endanger causing serious bodily injury.

As the result of a plea agreement, Tibaijuka pleaded guilty to one count of class C felony driving to endanger and was sentenced to 10 months in jail, a $575 fine, and his license was suspended for six months, the Bangor Daily News reported.

According to the complaint filed in Sagadahoc Superior Court, District Attorney Natasha Irving gave evidence at Tibaijuka's plea hearing that showed he was delivering Amazon packages the night of the crash and received an incoming call on his cell phone at 6:03 a.m., shortly before the crash was reported.

According to the suit, after the truck hit Fisher, Tibaijuka continued to drive for 2/10 of a mile before pulling over. 

"After a witness informed Mr. Tibaijuka that the Truck had just hit a person, Mr. Tibaijuka attempted to fix a headlight on the Truck that had been broken in the crash and then asked the witness if he, Mr. Tibaijuka, was 'good to go,'" the complaint states.

He was stopped by Maine State Troopers later that day while unloading Amazon packages at the Litchfield Post Office.

The complaint said Amazon's business model "depends on rapid, guaranteed delivery" of goods and promises to refund shipping costs if a delivery date is missed.

The suit claims Amazon was the "de facto" carrier for the packages being delivered by Tibaijuka and controlled loading and unloading, the truck's route, the hiring and qualification of Tibaijuka, their compensation and benefits, and other aspects of delivery, and thus assumed responsibility for the transportation.

The complaint also claims the Massachusetts trucking companies Midnight Logistics/Midnight Trucking, Merrimack Institute/Merrimack Transportation and Arafat Logistics, which owned and operated the box truck at the time of the crash and contracted with Amazon, were negligent because they hired Tibaijuka who "
"was not a competent driver" and was not properly trained or supervised.

Furthermore, the suit claims Amazon used the trucking companies despite their high number of driver and safety violations including excessive driving hours.

"Amazon Services knew or should have known that Mr. Tibaijuka was an unsafe and inadequately trained driver who was doing his work in a way that was unreasonably dangerous to others," the suit claims. "If Amazon Services had reasonably exercised the control it retained over Mr. Tibaijuka, it could have prevented the crash."

Maria Boschetti, Amazon spokesperson, provided the following statement to NEWS CENTER Maine.

“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.”

The Fisher family declined to comment Wednesday. 

"In its rush for profits, Amazon is knowingly putting dangerous truckers on the road," the Fisher family's attorney, James E. O'Connell, said in a statement. "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. 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."

Credit: Courtesy Fisher family

   

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