Are you a victim of Freedom Industries’ disaster? This might be your chance for restitution.
If you or your business were harmed by, or you incurred damages from, the Freedom Industries disaster in January 2014, there is a new opportunity you should consider for recovering your losses. Here is a link to the Charleston Gazette story from this past week.
Federal prosecutor Booth Goodwin has created a Web site for victims of the indicted officials of Freedom Industries. All victims of federal crimes have rights, created by federal law, in federal criminal cases. As listed in the Gazette story, these rights include:
- The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
- The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused.
- The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding.
- The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.
- The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.
- The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.
- The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
- The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim’s dignity and privacy. [emphasis mine]
Unlike the federal bankruptcy case involving only the empty carcass of the Freedom Industries corporation, the federal criminal case involves the human beings who made the decisions that created the disaster.
You can register your victim claim using this form, provided on Goodwin’s Web site. The form specifically asks you for any damages you have incurred as a result of the crimes committed:
- List any money, personal belongings or property lost, destroyed or damaged as a result of this crime and the value. Attach receipts, repair bills, etc.
- List any wages or income you lost as a result of the crime. Attach documentation from the employer verifying the amount of lost wages or income.
- List any medical or counseling expenses incurred as a result of this crime. Attach supporting receipts.
- Describe future medical or counseling expenses anticipated. Attach estimates.
- If you had any funeral expenses as a result of the crime, please list them and attach receipts, bills or other documentation of your loss. If you are claiming any expense for a headstone, memorial or honoring ceremony, please list those expenses also.
- List any other expenses including child care, transportation, and other expenses related to participation in the investigation or prosecution of the offense or attendance at court hearings.
You are not automatically entitled to recovery of your damages, because it will be up to the judge in the case to award restitution. But you will never have a chance for recovery unless you tell the judge what the criminals owe you. Note that you also have a right to speak at any public hearing on plea deals or sentencing of the criminals involved.