Newark, NJ (December 20, 2016) – The family of the 34-year-old attorney killed while on the platform at Hoboken Terminal on September 29th when a speeding train plowed into the station, has taken legal action against those responsible, according to claims filed with New Jersey Transit (NJT). The train’s engineer, Thomas Gallagher, and the NJT employees involved in the decision not to implement necessary safety technology and improvements, including positive train control (PTC) despite two similar accidents at the same location, are named in the filings.
The claims for damages, required in New Jersey before any lawsuits can be lodged, were filed on behalf of Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, 34, and her family. The Brazilian-born attorney lived in Hoboken with her husband, Adrianus (an international business executive) and Julia, their daughter, who on December 10th turned two. Ms. de Kroon, who moments before the crash dropped Julia at a nearby day care center, was on the platform of the busy multi-modal terminal during the crowded morning rush hour waiting for a PATH train, when she was struck by falling debris resulting from the impact of Pascack Valley train No. 1614 traveling at more than twice the 10 mph speed limit. Incredibly, 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 sent to area hospitals.
The de Kroon’s crash-related claims are the first that include assertions that NJT should also be held responsible for:
- Requiring only one crew member, the Engineer, 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.
- Failing to properly and adequately screen for, monitor and treat medical issues. NJT since the crash has said it is enforcing long-standing regulations to prevent fatigued personnel from operating equipment.
Trial attorney Tom Kline, of Kline & Specter, said, “This is the first step on the road to achieving just compensation for the family of Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, a loving young mother and talented lawyer who tragically and unnecessarily died in the horrific Hoboken crash.”
Andrew R. Duffy, of SMB, added, “Our clients demand justice in the name of Fabiola de Kroon and her family, as well as every rider of NJT who deserves to feel safe and secure whenever they board a train. It should never have taken this tragedy, and political scrutiny, to compel NJT to implement common sense, proven safety measures that were for too long derailed through neglect.”
His colleague, Robert J. Mongeluzzi, stated, “We look forward to hearing from the train’s engineer under oath, and to also having him independently examined by our medical experts as part of the fact finding in the quest for answers. Every victim and their loved ones deserve to know the whole truth about what happened and why, so it can’t happen again.”
Anthony J. Sylvester, of Sherman Wells, said of the Fabiola de Kroon claims, “The impact of this tragedy on the de Kroon family is extraordinary. We have witnessed the suffering of Fabiola’s husband who is raising their beautiful two- year-old daughter as a single parent, and now fights for justice for them.”