Roger & Tami Nash
Chief Justice Roy Moore
Ref: 1011475 ATS, Inc., and ATS, Inc. of
Roger and Tami Nash
Dear Justice Moore,
I wanted to write again about the Alabama Supreme Court’s opinion concerning the wrongful deaths of our son, Justin and our friends, Josh Beddingfield, Connie Beddingfield, and Jeannine Crawford.
It has been weeks since I last wrote to you, but I wanted to assure you that our determination to see ATS held accountable in this case has not diminished. I wish you could have been in the courtroom to see the case that was presented against ATS, but more than that, I wish that you could see and come to understand the complete lack of honesty that this company has demonstrated since our son was killed. They never once contracted us, or spoke to us throughout this entire nightmare. The only contact we had before the trial was when their lawyers questioned us at our deposition. But during our trial, they lied to the jury and said that they had contacted us and offered their condolences. This is just a small example of the dishonesty of which they have shown themselves capable.
The jury understood that ATS was not interested in honesty or safety. Their main interest was in doing as little as was possibly required and thereby returning the greatest possible profit. They have been adamant from the beginning that Roger Walker is not their employee. If they believe that is true, then they demonstrated, by the employment form they had their drivers sign, that they desired to dishonestly represent the true relationship that they had with the driver.
They have the attitude that “We can lie and we can use the loopholes in the law to benefit our business and use the same legal system that we are trying to fool to protect us from harm.”
The facts of this case, along with this type of attitude, makes us unwilling to accept the opinion of this Court that they are without any liability in this case.
Also, please consider one other point about the “borrowed servant doctrine”. In the Tennessee cases that were referenced, there exists a real possibility that the “lending” companies may have contributed to the incident in question in many different ways. They may have allowed unqualified employees to be hired. They may have cut corners in safety training. They may have been lacking in accident reporting or record keeping. They may have supplied an employee who has made repeated mistakes in the past. And the list could go on and on.
The idea that having the control of the employee at the instance of the incident is the determining factor of responsibility is very short sighted. There are many different things that can contribute to an incident that may never come to light even in a jury trail. For this reason, it is only fair that all parties that are involved in the employment of a person share in the responsibility of his actions. It is certainly unfair to the victims to say that the legal employer deserves ‘Summary Judgment’ in a civil case involving the incompetent actions of one of it’s employees.
I am a manager. Many times I may supervise someone in a task for which they are better trained than I am. The control I exercise as supervisor for a particular task is not nearly as important as the control I have in assuring that the person I send to do the job is competent and well trained for the task, and that there is no reason to suspect that they may endanger someone while doing it. If I loan an employee to someone else when I have wantonly failed to assure that the employee can perform that job safely, am I not partially responsible if someone is injured?
ATS maintained a great deal of control for the hiring, safety training, and record keeping of the truck drivers they leased to Mercer Trucking. They contributed to Mercers lack of concern about who was hired. They had no procedure in place to require previous employers to be contacted before the driver was allowed to get behind the wheel of an 80,000 lb. truck, even when the application stated that he had be fired by his last employer. Please remember that Mercer hired Walker for ATS, using ATS guidelines, filling out ATS forms. There were mistakes made by ATS that contributed to our son’s death, please hold them accountable for their mistakes.
“Where there is no accountability there will be no change.”
We beg you to please reconsider this decision and hold ATS accountable for their employees, knowing that accountability will force them to make changes that will protect our loved ones in the future.
We pray that God will bless you and guide you in all your decisions.
Roger and Tami Nash