RIPTA Blocks Requests for Information from Family of Dead 9-Year-Old and Media

Tuesday, April 18, 2017
GoLocalProv News Team

Ani Emdjian was killed in an accident with a RIPTA bus
Two years ago a nine-year-old girl named Ani Emdjian was killed by a RIPTA bus on Smith Street in Providence. The incident was just one of many accidents involving RIPTA buses - resulting in injuries and deaths.

Now, GoLocal has learned through court documents filed by the family of the girl against RIPTA, that lawyers for the agency are blocking the release of information relating previous accidents by the transportation agency.

One of the key requests by Emdjian’s attorney is for RIPTA to turn over “all documents concerning substantially similar incidents which occurred during the 5 years prior to the incident where it was alleged that an accident occurred due, at least in part, to the excessive speed of a RIPTA bus.”

RIPTA objected to providing such information, claiming that such a request would be "overly burdensome."

In court documents, RIPTA wrote in response to Emdjian, “Objection. The request as posed, is overly broad, unduly burdensome and not calculated to to the discovery of admissible evidence. More specifically, Defendant avers that a substantial number of claims are brought against the Transit Authority every year, many of which are baseless, and many of which include an allegation, however, well founded or otherwise, that involves speed. It is unduly burdensome to have the Transit Authority dedicate personnel to the man hours that would be required to comb through all such applicable documents to search for information which is not calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence in any event.”

"We're in the process of fighting [for that information]," said attorney Max Wistow, for the Emdjian family. "I think we will get it sooner or later, or whether there will be any information in there for it to be confidential, we will see."

Latest Explanation

RIPTA’s response in its court filing is inconsistent with its 2015 denial of a similar request for information filed by GoLocal.

The agency refused to provide accident reports to GoLocal. In April of 2015, GoLocal requested all RIPTA accident reports for the last three (3) years. The agency refused, “The documents you have requested are not considered public records under the Access to Public Records Act. Under section 38-2-2(4)(E) of the Act, they are exempt from disclosure because, as agency work product, they would not be available to an opposing party in litigation.” The response to GoLocal’s request was signed by Chief Legal Council Benjamin Salzillo.

Ray Studley, head of RIPTA and then Chair of the Board Scott Avedisian
Questions about Proper Management 

Central to the lawsuit - and overall questions regarding safety at RIPTA - is proper management of staff. A GoLocal investigation released earlier this month unveiled questions about massive usage of overtime in the agency. The overtime is approved by managers who themselves receive overtime. Of the roughly 800 budgeted positions at RIPTA, more than 95 percent of them are unionized and nearly every union employee is earning significant amounts of overtime. With managers managing line employees, there are little financial controls. More than 120 RIPTA employees made more than $20,000 in overtime in 2016. 

SEE LIST OF OVERTIME BELOW

Of RIPTA’s overall budget, 76.8 percent of the agency’s budget is spent on salaries, wages and benefits. By contrast, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) only spends 53.7 percent on personnel costs, according to United States Department of Transportation data.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has found that excessive overtime has an adverse impact on performance and safety for workers.

“In 16 of 22 studies addressing general health effects, overtime was associated with poorer perceived general health, increased injury rates, more illnesses, or increased mortality,” reported the CDC.

“Overtime was associated with unhealthy weight gain in two studies, increased alcohol use in two of three studies, increased smoking in one of two studies, and poorer neuropsychological test performance in one study.”

Is the excessive overtime also impacting the safety of the public?

RIPTA crash at the tunnel between N.Main St. and Thayer St.
“Six studies examining 12-hour shifts combined with more than 40 hours of work per week reported increases in health complaints, deterioration in performance, or slower pace of work,” wrote the CDC.

Lawyers for Emdjian's family asserted the following in their lawsuit against RIPTA. 

“Defendant RIPTA had a duty to exercise reasonable care in hiring, training and supervising its employees, including but not limited to (Eric) Seaberg (the RIPTA driver), in the safe operation of a bus,” 

  • #100

    JERIMAL BARNES

    Salary: $45,170.54

    Overtime: $22,707.39

    Total: $67,877.93

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #99

    BRENDA BRIERE

    Salary: $60,302.26

    Overtime: $22,801.78

    Total: $83,104.04

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #98

    MARSEL GARCIA

    Salary: $47,368.14

    Overtime: $22,832.61

    Total: $70,200.75

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #97

    JENNIFER DONAHAY

    Salary: $57,083.95

    Overtime: $22,910.62

    Total: $79,994.54

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #96

    JAMES GARCIA

    Salary: $57,177.33

    Overtime: $23,025.74

    Total: $80,203.07

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #95

    JEFFREY THERIAULT

    Salary: $47,370.19

    Overtime: $23,195.92

    Total: $70,566.11

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #94

    ANTOINIER PINTHIERE

    Salary: $40,231.47

    Overtime: $23,220.03

    Total: $63,451.5

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #93

    ARTHUR TILLEY

    Salary: $60,646.22

    Overtime: $23,319.01

    Total: $83,965.23 

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #92

    A JOSEPH DAOU

    Salary: $40,226.29

    Overtime: $23,518.67

    Total: $63,744.96

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #91

    ANTONIO LOPES

    Salary: $37,807.65

    Overtime: $23,591.75

    Total: $61,399.4

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #90

    PENELOPE CODY-HEROUX

    Salary: $42,539.58

    Overtime: $23,786.93

    Total: $66,326.51

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #89

    ABIODUN OSHIYEMI

    Salary: $56,424.39

    Overtime: $23,945.01

    Total: $80,369.4

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #88

    OSWALDO RIVERA

    Salary: $33,963.10

    Overtime: $24,169.54

    Total: $58,132.64

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #87

    NERY DURAN

    Salary: $47,826.31

    Overtime: $24,171.43

    Total: $71,997.74

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #86

    PIERRE CHARLES

    Salary: $56,467.37

    Overtime: $24,236.90

    Total: $80,704.27

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #85

    DAVID BLAIS

    Salary: $62,316.27

    Overtime: $24,281.46

    Total: $86,597.73

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #84

    ANTHONY WILLIAMS

    Salary: $61,714.37

    Overtime: $24,377.80

    Total: $86,092.17 

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #83

    NICHOLAS DECRISTOFARO

    Salary: $59,374.23

    Overtime: $24,557.13

    Total: $83,931.36

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #82

    GIOVANNI TIBURCIO

    Salary: $59,579.49

    Overtime: $24,645.30

    Total: $84,224.79

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #81

    WILLIAM FELCI

    Salary: $61,242.21

    Overtime: $24,721.23

    Total: $85,963.44

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #80

    MICHAEL CAMPOPIANO

    Salary: $57,838.80

    Overtime: $24,766.28

    Total: $82,605.08

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #79

    ROBERT ANDOSCIA

    Salary: $70,601.28

    Overtime: $24,787.80

    Total: $95,389.08

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #78

    MICHAEL PELLETIER

    Salary: $59,553.13

    Overtime: $24,798.52

    Total: $84,351.65

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #77

    JULES ROMAIN

    Salary: $60,919.34

    Overtime: $24,861.48

    Total: $85,780.82

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #76

    ERNST LUBIN

    Salary: $65,183.76

    Overtime: $25,318.42

    Total: $90,502.18

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #75

    CHARLES WILLIS

    Salary: $65,945.25

    Overtime: $25,544.98

    Total: $91,490.23

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #74

    STEPHEN ZACHAS

    Salary: $64,362.72

    Overtime: $25,594.00

    Total: $89,956.72

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #73

    ORLANDO SEMEDO

    Salary: $61,694.61

    Overtime: $25,688.86

    Total: $87,383.47

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #72

    DIMKY EDOUARD

    Salary: $56,220.53

    Overtime: $25,707.05

    Total: $81,927.58

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #71

    JAMES MANER

    Salary: $60,082.03

    Overtime: $25,771.87

    Total: $85,853.9

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #70

    MAURICE HOWIE

    Salary: $70,170.11

    Overtime: $26,013.00

    Total: $96,183.11

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #69

    FERNAND LAGUERRE

    Salary: $59,563.90

    Overtime: $26,014.51

    Total: $85,578.41

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #68

    KENNETH ATHAIDE

    Salary: $65,816.19

    Overtime: $26,238.96

    Total: $92,055.15

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #67

    DAVID LEMIRE

    Salary: $64,622.21

    Overtime: $26,673.94

    Total: $91,296.15

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #66

    KEVIN DECOSTA

    Salary: $60,720.01

    Overtime: $26,682.68

    Total: $87,402.69

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #65

    HENRY WILLIAMS

    Salary: $75,864.00

    Overtime: $26,901.18

    Total: $102,765.18

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #64

    CARLOS ROCHA

    Salary: $72,422.30

    Overtime: $26,924.37

    Total: $99,346.67

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #63

    CHARLES CAMPBELL

    Salary: $54,881.00

    Overtime: $27,059.66

    Total: $81,940.66

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #62

    ELEUTERIO TORTI

    Salary: $60,846.67

    Overtime: $27,175.79

    Total: $88,022.46

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #61

    ELDORA GIBLIN

    Salary: $58,241.09

    Overtime: $27,294.04

    Total: $85,535.13

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #60

    MEURIS MOQUETE

    Salary: $67,626.46

    Overtime: $27,478.84

    Total: $95,105.3

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #59

    EDDY PIERRE PHILIPPE

    Salary: $68,720.56

    Overtime: $27,539.27

    Total: $96,259.83

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #58

    JASON FERREIRA

    Salary: $74,351.36

    Overtime: $27,555.32

    Total: 101,906.68

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #57

    JAMES BIANCHI

    Salary: $57,462.71

    Overtime: $27,632.22

    Total: $85,094.93

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #56

    MARY HATHAWAY

    Salary: $38,637.04

    Overtime: $27,644.10

    Total: $66,281.14

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #55

    DENNIS DUGAN

    Salary: $61,758.61

    Overtime: $27,941.43

    Total: $89,700.04

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #54

    OSIEL OLIVA

    Salary: $51,294.64

    Overtime: $27,984.21

    Total: $79,278.85

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #53

    FIROUZ PAZHOUHANDEH

    Salary: $63,288.54

    Overtime: $28,013.90

    Total: $91,302.44

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #52

    LOVERIDGE AMOAKO

    Salary: $68,757.43

    Overtime: $28,127.17

    Total: $96,884.6

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #51

    DAVID MCGEE

    Salary: $61,188.94

    Overtime: $28,388.53

    Total: $89,577.47

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #50

    SLAV MALYUTA

    Salary: $40,164.78

    Overtime: $28,802.99

    Total: $68,967.77

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #49

    MILTON LUNA

    Salary: $60,352.93

    Overtime: $28,832.53

    Total: 89,185.46

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #48

    JOSEPH COLE

    Salary: $65,644.69

    Overtime: $29,904.84

    Total: $95,549.53

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #47

    GEORGE CURRAN

    Salary: $68,968.48

    Overtime: $30,022.05

    Total: $98,990.53

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #46

    PETER DZIEDZIC

    Salary: $61,072.04

    Overtime: $30,820.70

    Total: $91,892.74

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #45

    JORGE VIZCAINO

    Salary: $67,905.35

    Overtime: $30,900.19

    Total: $98,805.54

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #44

    BERT DEMERS

    Salary: $65,121.68

    Overtime: $31,222.21

    Total: $96,343.89

    Does not include benefits 

     
  • #43

    LENUS BAPTISTE

    Salary: $39,874.52

    Overtime: $31,283.90

    Total: $71,158.42

    Does not include benefits 

     
  • #42

    JOHN TANCREDI

    Salary: $69,805.26

    Overtime: $31,362.49

    Total: $101,167.75

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #41

    SAMUEL RIVERA

    Salary: $47,874.95

    Overtime: $31,394.86

    Total: $76,269.81

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #40

    RAYMOND LEE

    Salary: $67,935.57

    Overtime: $31,442.45

    Total: $99,378.02

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #39

    ALBERT CARDILLO

    Salary: $60,086.08

    Overtime: $31,736.42

    Total: $91,822.5

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #38

    XIOMARA PACHECO

    Salary: $68,383.37

    Overtime: $31,819.18

    Total: $100,202.55

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #37

    SHELDON WILLIAMS

    Salary: $60,798.37

    Overtime: $31,849.70

    Total: $92,648.07

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #36

    WELLINGTON TAVAREZ

    Salary: $58,525.45

    Overtime: $32,213.38

    Total: $90,738.83

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #35

    DAVID NOVSAM

    Salary: $61,966.07

    Overtime: $32,414.02

    Total: $94,380.09

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #34

    MARILYN RAPOSA

    Salary: $60,837.44

    Overtime: $32,555.86

    Total: $93,393.3

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #33

    JEAN LOUIS

    Salary: $64,816.03

    Overtime: $32,768.48

    Total: $97,584.51

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #32

    ANTONIO VARGAS

    Salary: $56,851.23

    Overtime: $33,014.32

    Total: $89,865.55

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #31

    FRED NASH

    Salary: $39,037.18

    Overtime: $33,286.43

    Total: $72,323.61

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #30

    MATTHEW BORGES

    Salary: $61,538.40

    Overtime: $33,312.95

    Total: $94,851.35

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #29

    DANILO PAULINO

    Salary: $57,872.33

    Overtime: $33,391.43

    Total: $91,263.76

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #28

    OSCAR DELCID

    Salary: $61,871.52

    Overtime: $34,594.63

    Total: $96,466.15

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #27

    BENJAMIN CABRERA

    Salary: $48,300.97

    Overtime: $35,264.78

    Total: $83,565.75

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #26

    FELIX TERRERO

    Salary: $57,890.97

    Overtime: $35,267.81

    Total: $93,158.78

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #25

    EDMUND MELLO

    Salary: $62,106.72

    Overtime: $35,272.97

    Total: $97,379.69

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #24

    LAWRENCE ONYE

    Salary: $60,037.59

    Overtime: $35,655.53

    Total: $95,693.12

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #23

    DONALD SPELLMAN

    Salary: $60,171.53

    Overtime: $35,959.88

    Total: $96,131.41

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #22

    VICTOR FERREIRA

    Salary: $49,687.19

    Overtime: $36,268.59

    Total: $85,955.78

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #21

    JEAN ALTERA

    Salary: $64,439.65

    Overtime: $36,722.77

    Total: $101,162.42

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #20

    KEVIN CAHILL

    Salary: $61,882.27

    Overtime: $36,831.63

    Total: $98,713.9

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #19

    DAVID ST.GERMAIN

    Salary: $58,210.46

    Overtime: $37,099.91

    Total: $95,310.37

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #18

    MARIAN LONCZAK

    Salary: $74,721.30

    Overtime: $38,320.12

    Total: $113,041.42

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #17

    LAWRENCE THORNTON

    Salary: $58,770.93

    Overtime: $39,139.03

    Total: $97,909.96

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #16

    JULIO ROCA

    Salary: $66,959.54

    Overtime: $39,256.56

    Total: $106,216.1

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #15

    JEFFREY ROY

    Salary: $60,785.53

    Overtime: $40,374.83

    Total: $101,160.36

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #14

    PAUL PRICE

    Salary: $60,574.83

    Overtime: $40,782.05

    Total: $101,356.88

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #13

    JOSEPH LIMA

    Salary: $65,717.90

    Overtime: $42,067.18

    Total: $107,785.08

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #12

    JULIEN RAVENEAU

    Salary: $62,387.59

    Overtime: $43,244.80

    Total: $105,632.39

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #11

    STEPHEN MIELE

    Salary: $62,797.76

    Overtime: $45,612.73

    Total: $108,410.49

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #10

    PASCO MACARI

    Salary: $59,191.64

    Overtime: $45,837.34

    Total: $105,028.98

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #9

    LIVINGSTON CICERON

    Salary: $57,473.30

    Overtime: $46,234.44

    Total: $103,707.74

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #8

    STEPHEN FARRELL

    Salary: $63,534.81

    Overtime: $46,880.08

    Total: $110,414.89

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #7

    PAPA NDIAYE

    Salary: $57,226.65

    Overtime: $46,898.01

    Total: $104,124.66

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #6

    WILLIAM BLAIR

    Salary: $61,665.97

    Overtime: $48,069.52

    Total: $109,735.49

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #5

    LYNN HENDERSON

    Salary: $61,909.12

    Overtime: $51,238.23

    Total: $113,147.35

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #4

    RAYMOND HOLT

    Salary: $74,738.88

    Overtime: $52,280.20

    Total: $127,019.08

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #3

    DENNIS CONNOLLY

    Salary: $60,932.98

    Overtime: $53,056.52

    Total: $113,989.5

    Does not include benefits

     
  • #2

    JOHN REALL

    Salary: $61,145.00

    Overtime: $53,766.95

    Total: $114,911.95

    Does not include benefits

     
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