One Year After Deadliest Metro Train Crash, Families of Victims Oppose WMATA’s Motion to Dismiss Washington DC Wrongful Death Lawsuit

As loved ones and friends gathered on Tuesday to mark the one year anniversary of the deadliest DC Metro train crash in the Metrorail’s history, the attorneys for eight of the families gathered in court to file a motion opposing Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s petition, submitted last month, to dismiss their Washington DC wrongful death complaint on the grounds that because WMATA is a “quasi-government entity” it has “sovereign immunity.” The family of one of the victims, train operator Jeanice McMillan, is not included in the legal action.

The plaintiffs have accused WMATA of bearing no responsibility for the deadly Red Line crash that killed nine people and injured at least 70 others when one Metro train rear-ended the back of another train last June. One train ended up on top of the other, and firefighters had to cut open train cars to rescue some of the victims.

Metro contends that filing the “partial” motion to dismiss is standard and routine in a Washington DC wrongful death lawsuit. It says that it hopes that the case will be “resolved or tried as soon as possible.” The civil trial is tentatively scheduled for September 2011 but Metro wants it delayed until 2012.

Meantime, the National Transportation Safety Board plans to review its final report of its probe into the deadly DC train accident in July. NTSB also says it has made progress in its investigation into three other Metro train crashes.

In February, a Metro train’s front wheels derailed at the Farragut North Station. In January, two maintenance workers died when they were run over by a hi-rail truck that backed into them. In November, a train operator and two cleaning crew workers sustained minor injuries when a train struck a stopped train at a rail yard.

Grief, bitterness at ceremony marking year anniversary of D.C. Metro crash, Washington Post, June 23, 2010
Families: Metro wants suit dismissed, Washington Post, June 22, 2010
NTSB Plans July Meeting On Metro Train Crash Probe, My Fox, May 20, 2010
D.C. Metro Remembers Victims of Its Deadliest Crash,, June 23, 2010
Related Web Resources:

Washington DC Metro Train Accident Death Count Goes Up to 9 Fatalities, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, June 24, 2009

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National Transportation Safety Board

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