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View Diary: Three people killed in NC hotel by CO-leaking pool heater installed without a permit (117 comments)

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  •  That's an argument for better enforcement of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erush1345, VClib

    what regulations are already in place.  

    Apparently, if the regulations already in place had been followed by these people, this tragedy would not have happened.

    •  Right, and at the same time use some common sense (8+ / 0-)

      Carbon monoxide detectors in every hotel room.  Full-time medical examiners in every state.  And if a suspicious death occurs in a hotel, that hotel is closed until they get to the bottom of it.

      •  CO monitors in every hotel room- Sure. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, gustynpip, VClib

        I'm in VT- there might be a full time medical examiner up in Burlington, but around here, we don't even have full time firefighters. I don't think that we generate enough work to justify a full time medical examiner in this and all of the neighboring counties. So I dunno if that's gonna work.

        And automatic closure on suspicious death doesn't seem workable either- It seems like it's more gonna lead to people covering things up than actually help. Innocent until proven guilty and all that.

        I mean, say some guy smothers his wife w/ a pillow in a hotel room. It's gonna take a bit of work to determine whether that was a CO leak or asphyxiation.  Couple days, a week. In the meantime, the hotel has to shut down? Doesn't seem reasonable. And statistically, it's gonna be the husband, not the heater.

        That's the thing about common sense- Everybody's common sense is different.

        •  At the very least, that room should have stayed (4+ / 0-)

          closed and unused until the reports came back and they knew a cause of death.

          Two deaths in a room, at the same time, no yet-known cause of death, and the room was being cleaned daily and guests were sleeping there? Whoops there goes any hope of finding more evidence of what happened if anything was missed the first time through...

          Prayers and best wishes to those in Boston, in Texas, and for this week to be over without anything else happening.

          by Cassandra Waites on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 08:00:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, there are some obvious signs like (4+ / 0-)

          skin color to help guide investigators in your specific cited example.  IIRC, CO poisoning leads to bright red skin.  Close the room at the very least until cause of death is determined.  If, as in this case, there's evidence of an environmental hazard, it should be something the hotel has an obligation to prove has been corrected before they're allowed to rent out that room again.

          Through this thread, while there may be issues of whether it's government regulations being followed or not, I see the strangulation of government as leading to fewer inspectors and fewer people able to verify that regulations and permits are issued properly.  That still keeps it as a partisan issue - Republicans are all for private companies overseeing themselves, whereas Democrats are often (not always) for trying to have people without financial motives doing the oversight.

          •  even if there was no permit (6+ / 0-)

            there was no excuse for not having a proper install.

            You want to make sure the damned thing is installed properly
            and that the codes are followed.

            The permits can be done afterwards "IF it's installed to code".

            here obviously the venting was improper and kileld people.

            •  more than once (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tonedevil, tikkun

              apparently the first time was not enough to get the hotel managers' attention.  Which charges would you bring against them?

              •  charges (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tonedevil, wilderness voice, tikkun

                I'd say we would be looking at
                Criminal negligence and involuntary manslaughter.


                Criminal negligence (sometimes called culpable negligence) means recklessness or carelessness that shows a thoughtless disregard of consequences or a heedless indifference to the safety and rights of others. State v. Jones, 353 N.C. 159 (2000); State v. Early, 232 N.C. 717, 720 (1950). The showing required to establish criminal negligence is less than the level of recklessness required to show malice for purposes of second-degree murder. State v. Mack, _ N.C. App. _, 697 S.E.2d 490, 494 (2010) (comparing culpable negligence to malice and concluding that for purposes of second-degree murder, the conduct must be done recklessly or wantonly as to manifest depravity of mind and disregard of human life). It is, however, more than the deviation from reasonable conduct required for civil tort liability. State v. Everhart, 291 N.C. 700, 702 (1977); State v. McAdams, 51 N.C. App. 140 (1981).


                Criminal negligence also may be established by an intentional, willful, or wanton violation of a statute designed for the protection of human life or limb. Jones, 353 N.C. at 165. For example, in State v. Powell, 336 N.C. 762 (1994), the defendant left his dogs unattended and not restrained and restricted to his property by fence in violation of Section 3-18 of the Winston-Salem Code, and the violation was intentional, willful or wanton. This was found to be sufficient evidence of culpable negligence in an involuntary manslaughter prosecution brought after the dogs killed a jogger. Id. at 771-73. The issue of whether culpable negligence is established by a safety statute violation arises most frequently in impaired driving cases. In that regard, the courts have repeatedly held that G.S. 20-138.1, the statute prohibiting drivers from operating motor vehicles while under the influence of impairing substances, is a safety statute designed for the protection of human life and limb and its violation constitutes culpable negligence as a matter of law. Jones, 353 N.C. at 165. Other motor vehicle safety statutes that can give rise to culpable negligence include G.S. 20-141 (speed restrictions) and G.S. 20-146 (drive on right side of highway). Jones, 353 N.C. at 165. When a safety statute is unintentionally violated, culpable negligence exists where the violation is “accompanied by recklessness of probable consequences of a dangerous nature, when tested by the rule of reasonable [foreseeability], amounting altogether to a thoughtless disregard of consequences or of a heedless indifference to the safety of others.” Id. (quotation omitted).

                so given they violated safety statutes that showed this
                was foreseeable, they have clearly passed the criminal negligence statute.  Especially given they had warning from a state health inspector that the heater was leaking fumes.
                Involuntary Manslaughter, sometimes called criminally negligent homicide occurs where there is no intention to kill or cause serious injury but death is due to recklessness or criminal negligence.
                given we can make criminal negligence, and someone died,
                we can probably make involuntary manslaughter.

                now it's a class F felony in NC, so it's probably only 13-16 months if the owner/manager has no other criminal record.
                It might be made concurrent due to aggravated factors but
                this is an idiot, a cheap lowlife idiot.

                good behanviour it could be as little as 6 months,

                now the tort liabilities here, it's a couple of million.

                now this is a chain, so, where does culpability lie?

                i'd indict the corporation and the managers, let the jury sort it out.

    •  Regulations Requiring Prompt Autopsy (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, tikkun, Cassandra Waites

      Without requiring the ME to complete the old people's autopsy, or to shut down the hotel after their deaths (and then after the girls were sickened), the regulations were inadequate.

      Either those regulations were missing, leaving the regulatory regime indisputablty incomplete in light of these events, or they were not enforced by the officials. Which would be another missing regulation: requirement that they be enforced, or cause corrections to those failing to enforce them.

      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

      by DocGonzo on Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 10:52:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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