$265 Million Settlement Reached in May 2015 Amtrak Train No. 188 Derailment Federal Multidistrict Litigation
A $265 million settlement program for all pending claims—including eight death claims—resulting from last year’s fatal derailment in Philadelphia of Amtrak Train No. 188, was ordered this morning by U.S. District Court Judge Legrome D. Davis of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. That amount is equivalent to the present value of $295 million (the federal damages cap for a single rail accident) paid in 2.5 years, the minimum time estimated to litigate the 125-plus pending cases. Therefore, the program is designed to provide maximum economic value without having to endure almost certain years of delay.
A copy of Judge Davis’s Order in the MDL (No. 2654), which sets forth details of the settlement program that has also been approved by defendant Amtrak, is attached. The Court-appointed Plaintiffs’ Management Committee (PMC) Chair for the MDL said, “the settlement program is a fair, uniform, and efficient method to compensate those that lost loved ones as well as the more than 200 injured survivors, many seriously injured.” He added that the settlement program is “the product of collaboration by members of the management committee appointed by Judge Davis, who supervised negotiations with Amtrak resulting in a program to compensate all the victims now, not later, for the fullest amount as could be expected under the law under the Court-supervised process.”
This outcome is historic, not only because of the result, but because of the relatively short period of time—from inception of litigation to reaching this agreement—and actual compensation to the victims. While no amount of compensation can replace the loss of human life, or heal the injured, it is immensely significant that the legal aspect of an incident of this magnitude will be resolved in a fraction of the time it could have taken. Our clients have been very clear in their desire for not only a just, but a speedy resolution.
Robert J. Mongeluzzi
A court-appointed Plaintiffs’ Management Committee Philadelphia-based member added, “We are all pleased that the process of compensation is now underway. The PMC worked diligently under the court’s supervision to establish a program to compensate all victims in an efficient and timely manner.”
The three trial attorneys indicated that through the Court-approved process it is possible that all $265 million in claims payments can be made by next summer.
Collectively, Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C. and one other firm, represent 35 passengers/victims (including two of the eight death claims) in the derailment. They filed the first cases on behalf of passengers. Last December the federal damages cap for railway accidents was raised from $200 million to $295, largely because of the Amtrak Train No. 188 catastrophe. The two firms were integrally involved in the effort to raise the cap.
Steph Rosenfeld / firstname.lastname@example.org / 215.514.4101