$100M suit targets FedEx in fatal Northern Calif. crash

SAN DIEGO - A San Diego attorney who filed the first lawsuit against FedEx after its truck collided with a tour bus in Northern California spoke with 10News Thursday.

Attorney King Aminpour filed a $100 million negligence lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of the family of 17-year-old Jennifer Bonilla of Los Angeles, one of 10 people killed in the crash.

“This girl could very well have been the next U.S. Supreme Court justice," Aminpour said Thursday.

Bonilla was set on attending Humboldt State University with a 4.0 GPA. However, those aspirations were cut short April 10, when a FedEx freight truck crossed the center divider on the Interstate 5 freeway in Orland, Calif., and slammed head on into the bus she and dozens of others were riding in.

"This is someone who was very rare, “said Edward Meara, an attorney who is also representing the Bonilla family. “She was 4-foot-1, but when this person walked in the room everybody knew she was present.”

The defendants named in $100 million suit include FedEx freight, the estate of the FedEx driver who died -- Timothy Paul Evans -- and Silverado Stages, Inc., the company that owned and operated the school bus involved in the fiery crash.

"The discovery process, the litigation that we have commenced, will show what the truth is, and what happened, and what was done or what was failed to have been done in providing a safer environment for people on the freeways and highways," Aminpour said.

The lawsuit alleges that the FedEx truck was already on fire before it slammed into the bus, and that the company's trucks have a history of catching fire for several different reasons. The suit claims this makes FedEx negligent because it “has taken no steps to remedy this problem."

"Look at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, they've recorded FedEx having 679 moving violations in the last two years,” Aminpour said.

The suit accuses Silverado Stages of negligence because it was “not equipped with adequate safety equipment."

"At this stage, we know based on testimonials from some of the survivors, they were struggling to get the windows open, push the doors open,” Meara said. That has to be evaluated as part of the claim.”

FedEx and Silverado Stages have 30 days to respond to the suit filed against them.

FedEx issued this following statement to 10News:

"Our heartfelt condolences remain with everyone affected by this tragic accident. We remain focused on providing support to those affected and cooperating with the authorities as they conduct their investigation. This is not the time for us to discuss potential litigation."

Two San Diego students were also on board the bus. They survived with only minor injuries.

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