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Parents of Brandeis Student Killed in Bus Crash File Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Vanessa Mark

Attorneys representing the parents of Vanessa Mark, a 24-year-old Brandeis University student who tragically lost her life in a bus crash last year, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Superior Court for Suffolk County, Massachusetts (Case no. 2384CV01359).

Wisner Baum bus accident lawyer, Clay Robbins III, in collaboration with local counsel Andrew D. Nebenzahl of the Nebenzahl Law Group, filed the complaint on behalf of the parents of Vanessa Mark The lawsuit seeks to hold Medford, Massachusetts-based Joseph's Transportation and bus driver/employee Jean Michel Fenelon accountable for gross negligence. According to Robbins, the crash that took the life of Vanessa Marks "was entirely preventable."

Brandies University Shuttle Bus Crash

On the night of November 19, 2022, Vanessa Mark was a passenger on the "Boston/Cambridge Shuttle" bus owned by Joseph’s Transportation and driven by Fenlon. The shuttle bus was transporting students back to Brandeis University from a hockey game at Northeastern University on a clear night with dry roads.

At approximately 10:30 p.m. local time, Fenelon was driving the bus at 54 mph on South Street in Waltham, which is a posted 30 mph zone when he lost control of the shuttle bus, causing it to jump the sidewalk, become airborne, strike two trees, and smash its front end into another tree. Emergency responders pronounced Vanessa Mark dead at the scene. She was 24 years old.

The lawsuit alleges that at the time of the crash, Fenelon:

  • Had logged over 73 hours of driving work over eight consecutive days in violation of the 70-hour safety rule.
  • Had logged over 10 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty in violation of the 10-hour safety rule.
  • Held a second job with Transdev Transportation working approximately 40 or more hours a week, shuttling students in Boston.

The lawsuit further alleges that Joseph’s Transportation failed to obtain a signed duty statement from Fenelon for the preceding seven days providing the total time on duty during the preceding seven days, which is required by law. Per the complaint, Joseph's Transportation also neglected to evaluate crucial aspects of Fenlon's qualifications, such as competency, accident history, drug screening, medical certificates, training, and experience prior to hiring him.

Additionally, the company is accused of inadequate training, monitoring, and supervising of its drivers to ensure the safe operation of their buses on city streets. The plaintiffs further allege that these acts of negligence allowed an unsafe, untrained, and unsuitable driver to operate a commercial bus and put passengers at risk of harm.

"Joseph’s Transportation either didn’t know or didn’t care that its driver violated hours of service laws, disregarded safety rules, and drove recklessly,” says attorney Clay Robbins III. “If they had performed simple due diligence, the driver never would have been allowed behind the wheel, and Vanessa Mark would still be alive today.”

About Vanessa Mark

Vanessa Mark was an undergraduate on leave from Brandeis University when she tragically lost her life on November 19, 2022. She is remembered for her sense of humor, her creativity, and her commitment to helping others.

“She was, without doubt, the funniest, wittiest, most clever person I ever had the pleasure of meeting…Yet at the same time … one could never feel as loved as they felt when sharing the stage with her,” said Mark’s friend Paul Weir at a memorial service held at the University. Weir performed with Mark in the improv group, False Advertising. “Despite her talent, she cared most about making her scene partners and friends feel good.”

“As I have been reflecting recently, I realized the problem with grieving isn't only missing Ness, it's the fact that, though Ness is beginning to be in the past tense, the feelings I have for her are squarely in the present,” said friend, Andie Sheinbaum. “I still love her, I still admire her endless, boundless, gentle kindness. The difference between the tenses of her and my feelings is certainly a site of much pain, but also so many joys.”

Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz said that Mark exemplified one of Brandeis' enduring values: to make the world a better place.

“She gave her time and talent as a longtime and active volunteer with the Prospect Hill Community Center, which provides academic and professional development services to children and adults here in Waltham," Liebowitz said, "and what I heard most from Vanessa's friends over the past two weeks were stories about her generous spirit, her ability to cheer up friends who were down, give emotional support even before it became clear it was needed, and was a source of many laughs.”

Wisner Baum Bus Accident Lawyers

Wisner Baum has an extensive track record of success representing plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death cases caused by negligence. The firm has earned over $4 billion in verdicts and settlements for clients, including those harmed in bus crashes. Since 1985, Wisner Baum has handled more than 100 bus crash cases for clients. Some of Wisner Baum’s bus accident case results:

  • $20 Million Bus Crash Verdict
  • $10 Million Bus Crash Settlement
  • $6.2 Million Bus Crash Settlement
  • $1.9 Million Bus Crash Settlement
  • $1.8 Million Bus Crash Settlement
  • $1.7 Million Bus Crash Settlement


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