The families of 23 nursing home residents who died in a bus fire while being evacuated from hurricane Rita have reached an $80 million settlement with numerous defendants.
The nursing home ordered the buses to move its residents and staff up to a sister facility it operated in Dallas Texas.
On September 23, 2005, as Hurricane Rita approached The Gulf of Mexico, the nursing home residents and staff boarded two buses provided by Global Limo he of Pharr Texas.
On the only way to Dallas one of the buses caught fire and 23 people died in that fire.
It was determined that the cause of the fire was insufficient lubrication of the rear axle which overheated and caused a fire in the 1998 bus.
The victims family claimed that the owner of the nursing home failed to properly screen Global Limo properly before contracting for the buses which proved to be unsafe.
Suit was also brought against Motor Coach industries, the bus manufacturer as well as component makers of the bus who were allegedly aware of a design defect in the hub and axle system that could fail and result in injury or death.
The lawsuit also involved the designer of the axle and rear assembly, the bus broker and the bus operator, Valley Volvo which serviced the bus shortly before the trip to Huston and the company which changed a tire in the wheel area where the fire began just hours before the fire erupted.
In order to properly investigate and prepare the case the lawyers which represented the families purchased a bus similar to the bus was caught fire. These lawyers concluded that the cause of the fire was more than just insufficient lubrication of the axle.