The collapse of the Big Dig tunnel a year ago had several huge impacts. One commuter lost her life. The head of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority lost his job. But one company involved in the failure might not pay a very high price for its contribution to the tragedy.
In August, Powers Fasteners Inc.—the Brewster, N.Y.-based company that supplied the epoxy used in the project—was charged with involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors claim the company failed to tell managers of the nearly $15 billion project that the adhesive would not be able to handle the weight demands, and that it would most likely pull away over time.
If a jury finds the company guilty, the highest criminal penalty that could be levied against it is $1000. Attorney General Martha Coakley said while the fine “does not seem to be even close to an appropriate punishment,” the modest amount is tied to laws that have been on the books dating back two centuries ago.
While the penalty might be paltry, Powers Fasteners could be hit with tens of millions of dollars in a civil suit currently being considered.