Complaint Filed Today On Behalf of Woman Killed in New Jersey Transit Hoboken Terminal Crash Damages sought in aftermath of ‘easily preventable’ tragedy.
Hoboken, NJ (June 27, 2017) – The family of Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, the 34-year-old attorney killed by a speeding, out-of-control New Jersey Transit commuter train while she was at the Hoboken Terminal last September 29th, has filed a wrongful death and survival action in N.J. Superior Court – Hudson County to hold accountable all those responsible for her death. “This tragedy was easily preventable, however, NJ Transit failed to utilize the readily available and life-saving technology of Positive Train Control (PTC)”, according to the multi-count complaint. Claims for damages are also asserted in the complaint.
The action was jointly filed on behalf of Mrs. de Kroon’s husband, Adrianus, and their toddler daughter by the law firms of Kline & Specter, Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C., and which have collaborated on numerous other catastrophic passenger rail personal injury cases, and Sherman Wells Sylvester & Stamelman.
Mrs. de Kroon, who moments before the crash dropped her young daughter at a nearby day care center, was at the terminal during the morning rush hour when she was killed as a result of the powerful impact of Pascack Valley Train No. 1614 traveling at more than twice the 10 mph speed limit.
She was the sole fatality in the incident, in which more than 100 of the train’s passengers – and more than a dozen others in the terminal – were injured and rushed to area hospitals.
The complaint (6/27/2017, SCNJ, Co. of Hudson, Civil Div. #5) which significantly expands upon the previously filed administrative Notice of Claim, asserts that NJT is legally responsible for the inexplicable failures of the NJT engineer who caused the speeding train to slam into the crowded terminal, and also was responsible for the disaster by its failure to:
- Ensure that only properly trained and unqualified personnel operated the train.
- Take all necessary steps to protect passengers and commuters on its train cars and on the platform while waiting for trains.
- Require more than one crewmember in a driving cab or locomotive during a train’s entry into the Hoboken Terminal. (The two-crew member requirement has since been implemented by the agency.)
Members of the legal team commented after the lawsuit filing. Tom Kline (K&S) stated, “We now know that not only was this tragedy completely preventable, it was a horrific accident just waiting to happen on so many levels. It is a classic case of a passenger rail operator living in a state of denial, and taking necessary, life-saving precautions only after a catastrophe. They must and will be held accountable.”
Andrew R. Duffy (SMBB), added, “NJT is a badly broken agency that must be repaired and become a model for safe passenger rail operations. That is the only way rider trust and confidence can be restored.” And Anthony J. Sylvester (SWS&S), said, “It has now been more than six months since the Hoboken disaster and the death of Mrs. de Kroon. Her family is convinced that the citizens of New Jersey deserve to know – must know – all the facts about what happened, why it happened, and that a similar catastrophe cannot reoccur. Only then will there be justice for Fabiola.”
Other members of the legal team working on the case are: (K&S) Charles (Chip) Becker, Kila Baldwin, Patrick Fitzgerald, (SMBB) Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Michael Budner and Jeffrey P. Goodman, and (SWS&S) Anthony Sylvester.