Dispute Over Venue for Lac-Megantic Wrongful Death Claims Heats Up
Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) May 14, 2014 – A federal judge in Portland, Maine recently heard arguments on whether Illinois or Maine will be the proper jurisdiction for a recent, tragic wrongful death case.
Nineteen wrongful death claims have risen from the July 2013 derailment of a Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MMA) Railway train in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada. The accident resulted in at least 42 deaths.
The trustee overseeing MMA during bankruptcy proceedings moved to transfer the wrongful death cases to Maine. The company hopes to consolidate actions associated with its bankruptcy.
Attorneys representing the victims’ families opposed the motion, in part because Maine has a $500,000 cap on wrongful death damages. Illinois has no such cap.
The wrongful death claims were filed in Illinois, where RailWorld Inc., the company that owned MMA, is based. In some of the suits, MMA was initially named as a defendant, but it was later dropped because bankruptcy law dictates that wrongful death claims associated with a company filing for bankruptcy be handled in the district court where the bankruptcy is handled.
“The dispute over the venue for these cases is not surprising, as so much is at stake,” says Paul Greenberg, a Chicago wrongful death attorney not involved in the case.
Attorneys for the victims’ families argued that, because MMA was dropped as a defendant, the lawsuits would not affect MMA’s bankruptcy. The trustee for MMA argued that case law supported his position that the wrongful death claims were still related to the bankruptcy and could have an effect on it. By his reasoning, they should be heard in the same district court where the bankruptcy is being handled.
A firm that represents some of the plaintiffs has proposed that former U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell oversee the allocation of available funds from the MMA bankruptcy to the victims’ families. MMA’s trustee characterized the proposal as a tactic by plaintiffs’ attorneys to keep the cases in Illinois with oversight by the former Maine senator.
Fortress Investment Group, a New York investment firm, purchased MMA’s assets for $15.85 million at a bankruptcy auction. However, the company’s creditors claims they are owed $40 million. Even that figure does not include the wrongful death claims, which are estimated to total approximately $50 million.
Briskman Briskman & Greenberg
351 West Hubbard Street, Ste 810
Chicago, IL 60654
Facebook: Like Us!
Google+ Contact a Chicago personal injury attorney from Briskman Briskman & Greenberg on Google+.
- Parents file wrongful death lawsuit against school after daughter’s suicide
The parents of a 12-year-old girl who committed suicide have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Chicago Public School District, claiming that the district failed to take action to address bullying. McKenzie Philpot, a sixth grader at Pierce School of International Studies, left behind messages on social media that revealed the extent of the [...]
- Smart Cars May Improve Safety, but Will Present Their Own Issues
Automobile manufacturers are now developing autonomous vehicles that promise to save thousands of lives. Despite auto safety advances, each year, more than 30,000 people lose their lives in car accidents. Most of those crashes are attributable to human error. New safety features address the problems caused when fallible humans are left in charge. Technology such [...]
- Illinois Teen Driving Deaths Decline
Illinois teen driving deaths have declined, and officials say it is because of more stringent regulations for teen driver’s licenses. Seven years ago, Illinois put a more restrictive program of graduated driver’s licenses in place for teenagers. Teen driving deaths have dropped five percent since then. According to the office of the Illinois Secretary of [...]
- Wrongful death lawsuit dismissed in death of David Koschman
A wrongful death lawsuit over the death of David Koschman has been dismissed. The lawsuit accused Chicago authorities of a cover-up after Koschman died following an altercation with a member of the Daley family. A federal judge ruled that the statute of limitations had expired. U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer said the lawsuit by Koschman’s [...]
- Wrongful death lawsuit filed over one-punch death
A wrongful death lawsuit was filed in Cook County by the family of a Palatine man who died after he was punched outside a bar and hit his head on the sidewalk. The family of Ryan Flannigan, 26, filed the lawsuit against Michael Platt, 35. Authorities said that Platt punched Flannigan on the night of [...]
The Chicago Injury Alert Podcast
- Cremated Amputated Leg Leads to Malpractice Lawsuit – Podcast
Rabbi Yona Reiss of the Chicago Rabbinical Council told the Chicago Tribune that under Jewish tradition, body parts that have been severed are preserved or buried for the day when it is believed that the bodies will be resurrected. Severed body parts are usually buried in private, low-key ceremonies, he said. Briskman Briskman & Greenberg351 [...]
- Protecting your loved ones from abuse – Podcast
This month on Chicago Injury Alert, we talk about ways you protect your loved ones from nursing home abuse.
- A Frightening Look at Medical Malpractice – Podcast
On this month’s Chicago Injury Alert, we talk about scary statistics regarding medical malpractice.
- Car Accident Injury Settlements Increase with an Attorney – Podcast
Research indicates that auto accident injury victims who hire attorneys receive larger settlement payments. Plus, the Illinois Appellate Court ruled that school districts my not be shielded from liability under the Tort Immunity Act on this month’s Chicago Injury Alert.
- Illinois sees decrease in malpractice payouts and Drunk drivers get a second chance – Podcast
Diedrich Healthcare performed an analysis of 2013 medical malpractice payments that were recorded by the National Practitioner Data Bank. The insurer found that medical malpractice payouts in Illinois decreased by $28 million from 2012 to 2013. Plus, a new bill is introduced to give drunk drivers a second chance on this month’s Chicago Injury Alert.