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Merced County Truck Crash Lawsuit Alleges Negligence Caused Fatal Collision

Leli Truck Lawsuit

Truck accident lawyers from Wisner Baum filed a wrongful death lawsuit this week on behalf of a young boy who lost his father in a collision that “could have been avoided.”

Attorneys Clay Robbins III and Matthew P. French filed the lawsuit (Case No. 23CV-01061) on October 3, 2023, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Merced. The complaint was filed in response to a 2022 truck crash in Merced County that killed 33-year-old Ieli Paulo Ieli, Jr. and one other person.

The plaintiff in the case is Desiree Montes, the mother and guardian of Ieli’s minor son. The complaint lists the following defendants:

  • Tanpreet Singh
  • JS Badwal Transport Inc.
  • McLeod Express LLC and McLeod Logistics LLC
  • S&S Freightway Inc.
  • Trueway Transport Inc.

Allegations in Merced County Truck Crash Lawsuit

On the morning of June 21, 2022, truck driver Tanpreet Singh was driving a tractor-trailer northbound on State Route 59 in Merced County when he suddenly veered into southbound lanes, directly into oncoming traffic. Singh’s truck collided with multiple vehicles, including a 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe driven by Ieli, Jr. Emergency responders pronounced Ieli, Jr. dead at the scene.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) investigation disclosed that Singh had been operating the commercial vehicle for several hours, so fatigue played a part in this tragedy, as did an inadequate safety program.

At the time of the crash, Singh was driving for JS Badwal Transport, a trucking carrier that did not have a safety rating with the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Attorneys say McLeod Express was supposed to transport the load for Morton Salt, Inc., but McLeod re-brokered to S&S Freightway, which then re-brokered the load to Badwal. According to the lawsuit, McLeod Express and S&S Freightway re-brokered the haul “without authority, permission, or consent.”

The crash that killed Mr. Ieli was caused by reckless negligence on the part of multiple trucking companies that brokered the haul to an unproven carrier and driver, per the complaint. The lawsuit further alleges that McLeod and the other trucking company defendants allowed an inadequately trained, ill-equipped, and incompetent driver/carrier combination to operate the truck to transport a load that weighed several thousand pounds on California highways.

“Badwal and Singh should never have been permitted to transport this haul,” says truck accident attorney Clay Robbins III. “If McLeod and S&S couldn’t handle the job, they shouldn’t have taken it. Their zeal to make a buck combined with their failure to perform the bare minimum of due diligence cost lives, and they need to be held accountable.”

Wisner Baum Truck Accident Lawyers

Wisner Baum is a Los Angeles law firm that represents more than 18,000 plaintiffs across a broad range of practice areas, including commercial transportation cases involving truck collisions.

Our team of truck accident lawyers has built a proven track record of success in litigating cases against many of the country’s largest trucking companies. Many of our trucking attorneys have served on plaintiff steering committees in complex multi-district litigation arising from transportation disasters.

We regularly work with some of the nation’s foremost truck crash experts to help prove liability and investigate whether trucking companies cut corners and violated the law. With vast resources and trusted experts, we give our clients the peace of mind that comes with knowing their case will be pursued with the vigor necessary to obtain the best possible result.

Wisner Baum has obtained more than $4 billion in verdicts and settlements for clients. In practice since 1985, we have earned a reputation for breaking new legal ground, holding major corporations accountable, influencing public policy, and raising public awareness about a variety of important safety issues.


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