ClickCease $60M Lawsuit Filed Against Amazon and Local Delivery Service After DC Accident
03/15/24   |   By

$60M Lawsuit Filed Against Amazon and Local Delivery Service After DC Accident

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As it appeared on NBC News4 Washington

By Susan Hogan, News4 Consumer Investigative Reporter, Rick Yarborough and Steve Jones

A D.C. couple filed a $60 million lawsuit against Amazon and a Maryland company following an accident that the couple says left a woman with severe injuries.

Video obtained by the News4 I-Team shows the moment on Dec. 30 that Rita Iannazzi says she was hit while walking in a crosswalk at the corner of Cathedral Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue in Northwest.

The delivery driver’s dashcam video shows Iannazzi waiting at the crosswalk for the signal to change. The driver, seen in the video eating at the time, turns into the intersection, striking her. A D.C. police crash report obtained by the I-Team shows the driver was issued an infraction for “colliding with a pedestrian.”

Iannazzi had 11 surgeries for multiple broken bones and spent nearly two months in the hospital.

“I’m angry; I feel tired,” said her husband of 40 years, Gianfranco Mancini, who spoke exclusively to News4 on her behalf as she recuperates at home.

She wasn’t up to showing her face, though she did share pictures she says are from happier times.

Mancini was in Italy at the time of her accident, talking with his wife on a video call at the moment she was hit.

“I saw her starting to step to cross the road, and suddenly, I saw the sky,” he said. “I heard people screaming; I could see later an officer approaching … And I saw her bleeding, and she told me, ‘Well, I had an accident,’ and, ‘Don’t worry about that; they are helping me.’”

He said his wife still needs more surgery and will face a lifetime of medical care.

Mancini knew the delivery truck belonged to Amazon, saying, “They had a sign on it.”

News4 covered the accident, and the video shows a blue truck with “Prime” on the side.

“To the general public, everyone knows it’s an Amazon van. It says ‘Amazon;’ it says ‘Prime’ on it,” said attorney Patrick Regan, who represents the couple.

But despite that Prime logo, Regan said the driver actually worked for a third-party company, what Amazon calls a delivery service partner (DSP).

“What they’ve done is they’ve attempted to insulate themselves from responsibility by creating these DSPs, and yet all the money flows to Amazon,” said Regan.

Regan said when there is a crash, consumers are often directed to file claims with the DSP instead of Amazon. But he said from his experience with other similar cases he’s filed, the DSP’s insurance coverage is grossly inadequate.

“In this case, the insurance coverage that the DSP has is less than the medical bills to date,” he said.

The couple is suing both Amazon and the DSP — Orion’s Harp LLC of Lanham, Maryland. The I-Team reached out to Amazon along with the DSP about the lawsuit but has not yet heard back.

Amazon previously told News4: “Since 2018, the Delivery Service Partner (DSP) program has empowered entrepreneurs who want to launch and operate their own delivery service to do business with Amazon. Now, more than 3,500 DSPs are delivering over 20 million packages every day across 19 countries. As has always been the case, nothing is more important to us than safety, which is why over the last five years we’ve invested more than $8 billion in state-of-the-art technology, safety enhancements, vehicle fleets, and exclusive services for DSPs and their drivers. These investments in safety technology and programs in delivery vehicles have decreased collision rates by 40%. And we’re not done — we’re always innovating with new technology, making process improvements, and helping DSPs provide better training to their employees to improve the safety of drivers, customers, and the communities we serve.”

The lawsuit claims Amazon, along with DSPs in general, prioritize “pickup/delivery speed over driver safety.”

“It’s the sheer volume of the deliveries that these drivers have to deliver every single day, or expected to deliver every day, that causes them to speed, go fast, to cut corners, to be distracted,” said Regan.

Mancini said he puts most of the blame on the companies and the push to deliver so many items, sometimes at a dangerous cost.

“It will surely happen again if you force your workforce to work at that way,” Mancini said. “They are human beings. This kind of accident that will happen again, someone will die for them.”

Reported by Susan Hogan, produced by Rick Yarborough, and shot and edited by Steve Jones.

Regan Zambri Long
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