Update: Trial Attorneys Tom Kline And Robert Mongeluzzi On New Jersey Transit (Njt) Train No. 1614 Fatal Crash In Hoboken

News Release

Kline & Specter, P.C. And Saltz, Mongeluzzi & Bendesky, P.C.

Update: Trial Attorneys Tom Kline And Robert Mongeluzzi On New Jersey Transit (Njt) Train No. 1614 Fatal Crash In Hoboken

Philadelphia, PA (October 3, 2016) – Philadelphia trial attorneys Tom Kline and Robert J. Mongeluzzi, who jointly represent numerous victims in the Amtrak Train No. 188 derailment wrongful death litigation, released the following updated statement today regarding Friday’s New Jersey Transit (NJT) crash in Hoboken.

“The railroad industry, Congress, and Federal regulators must intensify and accelerate safety-related efforts – including the immediate implementation of positive train control (PTC) – if they have any chance of restoring trust and confidence in rail service following last Friday’s horrific New Jersey Transit (NJT) crash of a commuter train entering Hoboken station.” While still early in the investigation, a series of statements and media reports points to yet another rail accident that was just waiting to happen and should have been prevented. These disturbing disclosures include:

  • Numerous reports that the NJT morning peak-hour train that crashed was operating six minutes behind schedule; NJT in 2015 was criticized for allegedly compromising safety for favorable on-time performance ratings. Was that a factor last Friday morning? Did the engineer, realizing he was behind schedule, suddenly accelerate, too fast and too late to safely brake? The engineer says the last thing he remembered was everything -the train’s speed and brakes included – seemed normal before he blacked out in the crash.
  • Investigators at the NTSB said that track signals appeared to be working properly, but one crucial event data recorder recovered from the lead train car was not working – as required by federal law – the day of the accident. With troubling questions raised about whether the train was operating at the posted 10 MPH speed limit, failure of that data recorder – responsible for logging speed-related information – could significantly impede an important facet of the investigation.
  • A recent Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) audit reportedly disclosed more than 180 NJT rail safety violations since 2011, which were settled for more than $500,000. The violations allegedly included employee drug and alcohol use. Were any of those audit findings linked to the possible cause of the crash?
  • That same audit reportedly determined NJT commuter trains were involved in more than 150 accidents (from 2011) and those resulted in nearly $5 million in property damage; to operating equipment or rail. Federal data shows New Jersey Transit trains have been involved in more than 150 accidents that caused more than $4.8 million in damage to tracks or equipment since 2011.
    The questions continue to mount along with rider anxiety.

“Lets hope that here we don’t wait a year for the NTSB, like we did in Amtrak 188, only to be given an unsupported, debunked explanation promoted as “situational unawareness” by a speeding locomotive operator. The NTSB needs to start to ask probing and difficult questions now to get to the bottom of what happened in this latest tragedy.” said Mr. Kline (of Kline & Specter, P.C.). “The combination of already known facts-the train was six minutes late, reports of passengers of excessive speed and the extensive damage to the station raise a high index of suspicion that the train was being operated at an unsafe speed. Speed kills-and Positive Train Control prevents speeding accidents and saves lives.” stated Mr. Mongeluzzi, of Saltz, Mongeluzzi & Bendesky, P.C.

The two Philadelphia law firms were the first to file complaints on behalf of passengers in the May 12, 2015 Amtrak Train No. 188 fatal derailment, and also represent one of the victims of the April 3, 2016 Amtrak Train No. 89 crash that killed two Amtrak track workers near Chester, Pennsylvania.


Tom Kline

215.407.1360 / tom.kline@klinespecter.com

Robert J. Mongeluzzi

215. 850.6571 /rmongeluzzi@smbb.com

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