PHILADELPHIA, Pa., May 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The first group of seriously injured passengers of the May 12th fatal Amtrak derailment today filed Complaints in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania asserting egregious safety-related failures by Amtrak that caused the catastrophe and resulted in the deaths of eight passengers and injured hundreds others. Philadelphia-based trial attorneys Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Esq., of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C. and Thomas Kline, Esq., of Kline & Specter, P.C., jointly announced the complaints on behalf of their respective clients. The plaintiffs in this initial group of filings range in age from 23-64; some live near station stops along the Amtrak Northeast Corridor, while two were Spanish tourists.
"There is absolutely no excuse for Amtrak's egregious conduct that led to a horrific tragedy that was easily preventable," said Mr. Mongeluzzi. "It is outrageous and unthinkable that Train 188 would be going 106 mph into a dangerous 50 mph curve," he added. "Our clients have asked us to find out exactly what happened, hold Amtrak fully accountable, and make sure that steps are taken to prevent a catastrophic train derailment from ever happening again."
Mr. Kline said, "In this monumental tragedy all the victims and their loved ones deserve a voice and have an important stake in the process that is about to unfold, and we intend to do everything in our power to assure that justice is achieved"
Kline & Specter filed on behalf of a 23-year-old female from the Philadelphia area. Plaintiffs represented by SMBB (USDC Eastern District 15-CV-2744-LDD) include:
- Felicidad ("Feli") Redondo Iban, 64, of Leon, Spain, a retired healthcare administrator whose right arm was nearly severed by the sheer force of the derailment. Still at risk for amputation, Ms. Iban has undergone numerous surgeries related to her injuries and will require additional surgery as a result of serious cuts on her face and about her body.
- Maria Jesus ("Susu") Redondo Iban, 55, cousin of Felicidad Iban, and her traveling companion, works for the Spanish government and lives in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Her injuries include lacerations and bruises to the head, face, shoulders and arms, and has been evaluated for traumatic brain injury. Like the vast majority of the injured passengers, she is exhibiting signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Her husband, Mariano Ucero Estrades, is also named as a plaintiff. She has been released from the hospital but remains under close supervision.
- Daniel Armyn (wife Nicole), 43, resides in Brooklyn, NY, and is Principal/Chief Creative Officer of New York-based NewBreed Advertising, Inc. He sustained three broken ribs, multiple cuts and bruises and lost teeth in the derailment. He also tore his ACL and MCL ligaments in his knee, and, like all the plaintiffs, requires continued medical treatment for physical and psychological injuries sustained. His wife, Nicole, is also named as a plaintiff. He has been released from the hospital.
- A 39-year-old woman who suffered numerous injuries, including a back injury and cuts to her left leg and face. She has been released from the hospital but remains under close supervision.
The Complaints detail a litany of identical contributing failures on the part of Amtrak and its Train 188 engineer, including the train's inexplicable operation at an 'outrageously and perilously excessive rate of speed entering a hazardous curve", that combined resulted in the violent derailment and dislodging of the seven-car train and subsequent mass casualties. These failures included:
- Recklessly operating the train at 106 mph - more than twice the 50 mph speed restriction - as it approached a curve in the deadly Frankford Junction section of right of way. This caused the sudden, chaotic derailment during which all seven passenger cars and the locomotive catapulted from the rails; one car flipped completely over, and several others were thrown onto their sides. The approximately 240 passengers, many asleep, others reading, using electronics, or in the café car, were stunned and defenseless.
- Total disregard of enacted Federal legislation that required implementation of life-saving Positive Train Control (PTC), which would have automatically prevented the train, despite an engineer's actions or inaction, from reaching dangerous, excessive speeds entering the Frankford Junction curve. The PTC, mandated by Congress for installation on all trains by 2015, was designed specifically to prevent train-to-train collisions and prevent derailments.
- Failing to utilize Automatic Train Control (ATC) that automatically slows the train, for southbound trains, but was not implemented for northbound trains although they were located mere feet away.
According to the Complaints, "Through its reckless operation on the tracks and inexcusable decision to not include a necessary safety system, Amtrak caused this horrific tragedy." In addition to compensatory damages, the plaintiffs are seeking punitive damages to be determined by a jury. Attorneys expect to be filing various discovery-related motions in the coming weeks as the litigation progresses.
The firms of Mr. Mongeluzzi and Mr. Kline have been engaged by other riders aboard Train 188 and will be filing additional complaints. They have represented numerous victims and their families in the aftermath of countless catastrophes in the greater Philadelphia area and throughout the country. They were court-appointed, co-lead plaintiff's counsel in the fatal Philadelphia Pier 34 collapse; and their firms worked jointly in the fatal Delaware River duckboat disaster and the ongoing fatal June 2013 Salvation Army building collapse. Their firms are considered among the leading plaintiff complex catastrophic injury firms in America. For more information on the firms, visit www.klinespecter.com and www.smbb.com.
SOURCE Kline & Specter, P.C. And Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C.