Passenger claims he was injured in Amtrak train derailment

By Kasey Schefflin-Emrich | Jul 9, 2015

U.S. District Court in Philadelphia  

PHILADELPHIA - A passenger and his wife are suing a railroad company, alleging he suffered injuries after a train derailed in May.

Derrick Caesar and Laprenda Caesar of Newark, N.J., filed a lawsuit June 25 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against National Railroad Passenger Corp., doing business as Amtrak, alleging negligence.

According to the complaint, on around May 12, Derrick Caesar was a passenger on Amtrak Train 188 when it derailed near Frankford Junction in Philadelphia a little after 9 p.m. All seven of its passenger train cars flipped over, which caused eight passengers to become fatally injured and hundreds of passengers and occupants to suffer other injuries, including Derrick Caesar.

Among many things, the plaintiffs cite the defendant with: Operating the train at a dangerous and excessive of more than twice the legal speed at the time of the derailment; failing to observe and react to wayside signals; failing to slow the speed of the train as it approached a curve in the rails; failing to maintain the computer/alert system on the train so it would properly alert the engineer to reduce the speed or automatically reduce the speed when necessary; and failing to repair or correct the railroad tracks to remove dangerous curves.

The Caesars also claim the defendant: Failed to equip and install Amtrak Train 188 with a Positive Train Control, which would have provided real-time information to train crew members about what areas the train must be stopped or slowed down; offered speed limits at approaching curves; warned crew members of the safe braking distance when approaching curves and speed reduced areas; and automatically engage the braking system if a train engineer failed to do so.

Derrick Caesar alleges he has endured severe debilitating and permanent injures, aggravation of a pre-existing head injury, emotional distress and mental pain, ongoing medical expenses, and loss of life's pleasures. His wife Laprenda says the train accident led her to lose society, support, companionship and consortium of her husband.

The plaintiffs seek damages in excess of $75,000, plus punitive damages, attorney fees and costs. They are being represented by attorneys Jeffrey I. Zimmerman and Jeffrey D. Schmidt of Rovner, Allen, Rovner, Zimmerman and Nash.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case number: 2:15-cv-03557-LDD.

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