The lawsuit filed on Monday by Charles Herrmann of the Seattle firm Herrmann Scholbe alleges the driver spent more time behind the wheel than allowed in the U.S.
Mi Joo Tour & Travel Ltd., located on North Road at Lougheed Highway, did not return calls seeking comment. It has not filed a response in court to the lawsuit.
The driver of the bus doubled as a tour guide during an eight-day tour of America's West Coast, according to the complaint filed in Washington State's Pierce County superior court.
The bus was headed back to Vancouver on Dec. 30 - after visiting San Francisco, the Los Angeles area, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon - when it plowed through a guardrail on an icy eastern Oregon highway and down a steep embankment.
U.S. federal regulations state that a driver can only spend 70 hours driving and acting as a tour guide in any eight-day period, equalling a little less than nine hours a day on duty, the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit alleges the driver spent 12 to 14 hours on duty each day, "sometimes driving as much as 10-12 hours on several days when he drove roughly 500 - 600 miles."
It was filed on behalf of two cousins who had been living with a homestay family and studying at a Tacoma, Wash. high school. Chae Jong-Hyun, 16, was knocked unconscious in the crash and An Seong-Jun, 15, fainted, the lawsuit alleges. Both suffered minor injuries, but awoke to a gruesome scene with survivors screaming for help amid the snow.
The lawsuit asks the company to pay for the treatment of the boys' injuries, plus other damages.
Herrmann represented the families of 89 Korean victims of the Korean Air Lines Flight 007 in a lawsuit against the carrier for flying into restricted Soviet airspace. A Soviet Union fighter shot down the plane, killing its 269 passengers and crew, over the Sea of Japan on Sept. 1, 1983, which stirred Cold War tensions.
Mike Hager Vancouver Sun