Apparently there was this gentleman named John Cota, who crashed a freighter into the Bay Bridge last year, and 53,000 gallons of spilled fuel killed untold thousands of birds. What a jerk, right? Wait a minute: just who let the man, who was taking all sorts of medications to treat depression and sleeplessness, anyway? In a lawsuit filed six months ago, the Justice Department said the ship's owner was to blame; now, the company has fought back, claiming that the Coast Guard was fully aware of Cota's history, but did nothing to stop him from careening his big boat around the waters of the bay. No one, neither the company nor the federal government that authorized Cota to operate the freighter, comes off looking good. But only Cota faces criminal charges, despite the fact that he was cleared for duty by the feds.